West Chester University’s maintenance group is continuing their efforts to restore the Hollinger Field House gym to the original model. Water ran constantly for five to six hours overnight before the leak was spotted. The university is using as many resources as it can to get the gym back to where it needs to be for use.
West Chester facilities recently converted to geothermal systems. This decision was predicated on directing the university towards a carbon neutral environment. These efforts aim to create a cleaner environment in the near future for students as well as soften the blow of pollution.
When WCU made the decision to go geothermal, they had to make some accommodations. This included installing new pipes in certain facilities in order to sustain appropriate energy. One of the newer pipes that was instituted during this process was the one that burst. The definite cause remains unknown, however WCU staff believes it was a simple malfunction they could not necessarily prevent.
There is some disappointment looming because the new basketball court was installed four years ago, so they did not imagine having to go through this process in such short time.
“Initially the plan was to rip up the wood floor and reconstruct the surface,” West Chester University Athletic Director Terry Beattie said. “Once we tore up the wood that was affected by the flood, we realized we were going to have to lay a new foundation down and work from the ground up.”
Originally, the university was aiming for the gym to be ready for use Nov. 1, but as of now the plan is for the new floor to be complete by mid-December. The university’s intention is to hold Winter commencement for graduates in Hollinger Field House.
In addition to the ceremony being held in the gym, the Athletic Department is also dealing with scheduling repercussions. The WCU basketball programs will have to play at alternate locations for the first month of the season.
The athletic director revealed that they are working with other schools and campuses to explore options regarding where the teams can compete while Hollinger completes reconstruction.
The regular season for basketball starts on Nov. 11, and it is anticipated that there will be around 13 games that need to be moved to different locations. West Chester Golden Rams point-guard Jackson Hyland called the incident “absolutely tragic.”
It will be a challenge for the Rams to deal with this distraction. Facing a challenge they did not anticipate will be a unique task as the men and women open up their 2017 campaign.
Beattie was very complimentary of the West Chester University campus recreation center. “They have been great in terms of letting our teams use their facilities. There are times when volleyball has to practice on one of the gym courts as well as the basketball team.” These circumstances limit the amount of available sport courts as well as open times where non-athletes are able to go and exercise.
As the semester goes on, West Chester University and it’s students face a multitude of challenges. Whether it is dealing with work, trying to handle protests or striving to thrive in competitions, it is adamant that the WCU community remains patient in terms of issues that demand urgency.
Nicholas Meola is a student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at NM851689@wcupa.edu.