Returning students flocking back to campus for the start of the new semester are due for quite a surprise when they step foot in the university’s remade sports complex this year.
Some of the upgrades installed during the summer include renovations done to First NBC Court and both fitness areas located on the fifth and sixth floors, which are still in the process of receiving a few last minute touch-ups.
“We have upgraded the lighting to entryways, the customer service area and around all courts. All basketball goals were upgraded to modern standards and new court curtain dividers were installed. All courts were resurfaced and relined with colors consistent with the Wolf Pack color template,” Assistant Athletic Director Courtnie Prather said. “We also reconfigured the fifth floor free-weight room and sixth floor universal machine room and cardio equipment space to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. We also made some improvements to the men’s and women’s locker rooms including upgrades to flooring and sauna areas.”
Some of the changes will be more noticeable than others, but students will be hard-pressed to remain unaware of the upgrades made to the bleachers that flank the complex’s basketball court.
“The most impressive addition is the installment of new chair backs — telescopic bleachers that provide better seating options for an improved game day experience,” Prather said. “We are extremely excited about the addition of the chair-back bleachers. It provides a more comfortable and familiar collegiate game day experience for our fans.”
Prather is hopeful that these new and improved bleachers will help students and community members to further embrace the “Wolf Pack spirit” that has always been present within the walls of Loyola’s sports complex.
“We also believe the addition will have a significant impact on our campus community, as it is our hope that it will be the basis of providing an appealing environment that encourages students and community members to experience the Wolf Pack spirit through athletics and various other recreational activities,” Prather said.
The same can be said for not only the newly-designed bleachers, but the rest of the recent modifications installed by the university over the summer.
“Overall, our hope is that the upgrades will contribute to an enhanced college experience for both athletes and non-athletes alike by offering increased opportunity to feel the spirit and pride of the Wolf Pack,” Prather said.
However, as it turns out, a slightly less noticeable change is one that Prather and the athletic department have taken the most amount of pride in.
“What we are most proud of is the reconfiguration of the workout spaces on the fifth and sixth floors. The commitment to reconfigure the USC to meet ADA standards, providing equitable access for all to engage in health and wellness activities, is why we’re all here,” Prather said.
Prather added that perhaps the main intention of the recent renovations was to make the sports complex feel more like a second home to students who are otherwise far away from their first.
“It is our hope that these upgrades will continue to foster an environment of an on-campus ‘second home.’ Whether students are coming to utilize the facility for a workout, participate in recreational sports or to attend an athletic game, we want them to feel welcome and at home.”
Unfortunately, the facility won’t be accessible right away. Loyola students and community members will have to wait until Aug. 28 to get their first look at the university’s new and improved sports complex.