Amidst all of the changes Gannon University’s campus has been experiencing lately – including the opening of North Hall and the impending renovations of Nash Library – the Carneval Athletic Pavilion is the next Gannon building on the home improvement list.
Linda Wagner, vice president of finance and administration, said the CAP renovations were a part of the master plan survey that the university conducted in February 2009. Now the modernization team has hired The Collaborative Inc. architecture firm to develop a plan and feasibility study that will eventually be presented to the university’s Board of Trustees.
“We have hired architects to take an in-depth look, work with the programming team, work with the Rec Center staff and coaches to look at what’s needed,” Wagner said, “as well as give us a very in-depth plan with phasing as to what needs to happen.”
Director of Recreation Don Henry said the CAP hasn’t been structurally updated since the building first opened in 1984.
“When it was built it was the gem of the area,” Henry said. “There was no facility like it probably within 100 miles. Over the last 28 years, it has been well used but it needs modernized.”
Director of Athletics Mark Richard said that Gannon’s growing number of student-athletes having to share the space creates major scheduling headaches.
“We need some help with trying to alleviate the scheduling issues,” Richard said.
“We’re crammed into the basketball courts and we need to somehow find ways that we can do alternative things that allows more time for students to use those areas.”
According to Henry, one of the major goals of the CAP modernization is to better the image of the Rec Center to make it more attractive to prospective students and student athletes.
“For admissions and recruitment, when students tour campus, this is one of the things they want to see,” Henry said.
“We want to make sure that we are providing the facilities and services that they expect, and also make sure that we are on the cutting edge that we are right with everybody else so we’re not behind and trying to catch up.”
According to Wagner, some of the improvements on the table are a new addition and entrance, a 38-meter pool and an indoor practice facility with a turf field.
Henry said the indoor field would allow athletic teams to practice even when the weather isn’t cooperating, and it might be open for intramural use.
“The indoor turf facility would give us great opportunities to do more things,” Henry said.
Ty Watson, a sophomore pre-med biology major, said the CAP needs a few spatial improvements.
“I’d like to see the weight room improve,” Watson said. “I’m in there all the time and it’s awful; there’s not enough equipment, and there’s too many people for such a small space.”
Kirstie Cortazzo, a sophomore criminal justice major, said some of the athlete-specific spaces could be updated.
“The upstairs softball and baseball batting cages, the carpet’s really old and rundown and the whole upstairs just needs redone,” Cortazzo said.
Henry said the modernization will not completely close the CAP; instead the renovations will occur in sections of the Rec Center so the building can still be in use during construction.
“We could tear everything down but then we wouldn’t have anywhere to work out for a year,” Henry said.
The modernization team will hold formal feedback sessions in March, and the principal planning is timed to be completed by May, Henry said.
“This will be a student wellness, recreation and athletic facility,” Henry said. “It’s going to work all of those components. We want the student to be healthy. We’re going to put a place for healthy foods and healthy choices.
“It’s going to be a social center, too; not just where people sweat, shower and then get out of there. It will be a place that will be welcoming to students and student-athletes.”