New addition opens at Big Bob for athlete use
Published: Monday, December 5, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 05:12
A 54,000-square foot addition to the Bob Carpenter Center opened last week, upgrading facilities for athletes and helping relieve high traffic at other campus fitness locations.
The new space holds two gymnasiums to be used as practice courts for men's and women's basketball and the women's volleyball team. The space will also be used by most indoor club sports teams for practice.
Athletic director Bernard Muir said the addition will allow athletes to practice in better facilities.
"Whether it is from the highest level of intercollegiate athletics or to students wishing to compete at the club sport or intramural level, they all will benefit from this enhancement," Muir said.
Muir said the next development project will be the expansion of the Carpenter Sports Building, known colloquially as the Little Bob. Construction on the project will begin early in 2012 and is slated for completion in 2013.
Students using the Little Bob for personal recreation have found securing open gym space increasingly difficult in recent semesters.
Freshman Hannah DeMartino, a member of the cross country team, said she comes to the Little Bob once or twice a week, but would work out more often if the gym wasn't so often overcrowded. She said there is usually a wait to use the equipment, especially the cardio machines.
"For us, it's absurd because there's a 30-minute time limit that you're allowed to be on the machines," DeMartino said.
Although the time limit is intended to allow a greater number of students to use the machines, freshman Meg O'Brien, another member of the cross country team, said it does not allow for a sufficient workout.
"It's not even worth working out sometimes," O'Brien said. "For us, 30 minutes is like a warm-up. There's really no reason to come if you can't do a full workout."
The new addition and other projects will expand and renovate athletic buildings, which will help fix issues with overcrowding at the Little Bob. Only athletes are permitted to work out in the Bob Carpenter Center, and the new addition will help attract their traffic to those facilities.
The volleyball team used to play only one match per season at the Bob Carpenter Center. The team will move there permanently starting next season, freeing up space for open recreation in the Little Bob.
Intramural sports coordinator Adam Jines said the addition will help lessen traffic at the Little Bob.
"In the past, it seemed as if there was almost no unscheduled time in any of the gyms of the Little Bob during the afternoon and evening hours," Jines said. "Thanks to the expansion, open [recreational] space in Gym 1 of the Little Bob should be available in bunches."
He said there are no plans to relocate regular games for intramural sports from the Little Bob to the new addition in the near future, but the roughly 5,000 students who annually participate in intramurals will benefit in other ways.
"The expansion should provide us with facility space and time that we've never had before across the board," Jines said.
He said he is working with Tony Goldston, assistant director of recreation, to consider additional methods of utilizing the new expansion to increase their offerings.
Muir said the extra practice and recreational space will help the university's athletic recruitment efforts, as well as benefitting current students.
"We've been making several efforts to improve the overall experience for our student body," he said. "We will have newer and renovated facilities on the horizon, which will enhance the overall student experience."