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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New Clark Center Gymnasium Opens in Style

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Photo by Gabe Sanchez.

 

 

 

In an unprecedented era of construction on campus, one of the most anticipated projects was the total renovation of the Clark Athletic Center gymnasium, which was completed in late November.

Although the men’s and women’s basketball teams have already played a handful of games in the arena, it will be hosting a official grand reopening celebration on Feb. 5. There are plenty of things to be celebrating as the new gym opens its doors. Men’s basketball currently sits at 9-10 and the women’s team has been a very pleasant surprise—they’re boasting a 12-7 record.

The new gym, the opening of which was slightly delayed, is a massive upgrade from the facilities that were previously being used. In addition to seating on the rear wall of the gym, there are new lights, new bleachers, new doors, and most importantly, a fantastic new floor.

The new surface, provided by New England Sports Courts, is 28,000 square feet with brand new logos that, according the athletic director Charlie Titus look a lot better than the ones that were there previously. The floor also provides a safe playing surface for UMass athletes who had to contend with the threat of shin splints and other impact injuries from playing on the old floor. 

Titus said “our capacity has basically remained the same because we’ve put in a section of 300 seats that have backs and arms that will serve as a VIP section or for major events, a reserved seating section.” He added “putting those new bleachers in the back allow us to keep the capacity around 2500-3000 depending on how you put people in.” A main focus for Titus when constructing the gym was versatility. He said, “We put in new lighting, which has different settings so that it’s energy efficient, and we also put in area stage lighting so that when we have convocation and other kinds of events their needs would be met, and we tweaked the sound system, which now sounds much better.” 

Titus couldn’t be happier with the new facility. When asked how the gym’s held up over it’s first month and a half, he said “[it’s been] excellent. It’s a very pleasant place to recreate. I think that it’ll be a really nice place for events. We already had the nursing school’s midyear graduation in there and it was spectacular.” 

The official re-opening celebration for the gym will include free t-shirts, free pizza, and most importantly, a double header of basketball from the men’s and women’s teams. The new gym comes one year after the Clark Center Ice Rink was renovated and repainted and a brand new baseball park will be built in time for the 2014 season. The delay was a bit of an annoyance for the UMass teams, but it’s safe to say that the athletes that call it home will have already forgotten about it. 

When asked if the new gym will be worth its seven-figure price tag in the long run, Titus said, “No question. It’s now really a convocation center for the entire campus. We’re actually going to start calling it the Catherine Forbes Clark Convocation and Recreation Center.” This new gym will not only improve the safety of UMass athletes and give the Beacons an improved home. It will also serve the entire student body as an events center and a host for convocations for years to come.