Updates underway for Allegheny athletic facilities

Robertson Athletic Complex, Wise Center to undergo renovations

Olivia Blakeslee and Jake Reidenbach

Allegheny athletes can anticipate new and updated facilities both inside and outside in the coming months. The David V. Wise Center is currently undergoing a resurfacing of its blue courts, while Robertson Athletic Complex recently began creating a new field facility and completed locker room and laundry room facility renovations.

The four blue courts utilized by basketball, volleyball and tennis teams are expected to have new surfaces installed in a time frame that minimizes disruption to athletes and coaches, said Bayu Purnomo, director of peak performance and fitness.

“This should be a matter of weeks to get done,” Purnomo said. “I’ll have to rearrange some of my warmups, some of my pre-lift warmups, as will football, but thankfully this is not when those courts get the most usage. They will be offline for the first two or three weeks of the school year.”

The resurfacing will improve the condition of courts that have grown slick with wear, Purnomo said, and provide more traction for athletes.

The new surface will also be slightly softer than the existing surface and will help prevent impact-related injuries — shin splints and joint pain. Purnomo said the surface, which resembles a typical track surface, will be particularly useful during the early spring when competitive seasons have begun, but the weather does not permit outdoor competition.

Two new wireless scoreboards and a new sound system will also be installed in the Wise Center.

Robertson Athletic Complex has also seen changes to its indoor facilities with the expansion of the training room into a former laundry room space as well what was formerly part of the visiting team’s locker room.

“We were able to expand the athletic training room back to add about two-thirds more size to this space to gain space for a separate rehab area, pre-practice treatment area, office space so that we have room for our files and everything as well as storage for our day-to-day use,” said Robin Scheimer, director of sports medicine. “It’s been really helpful for us in terms of the number of student athletes that we have coming through, so this expansion has been a great help to us.”

The creation of the more comprehensive training room eliminated one of two laundry rooms, but allowed Director of Athletic Equipment and Facilities Ron Clements to create a more centralized laundry facility.

“All the teams now report to this area for uniforms, practice gear, towels,” Clements said. “We bought a brand-new, 80-pound washer and a brand-new 80-pound computerized dryer that has the capability of sensing when the clothing is dry and just shuts itself off.”

The new laundry rooms are also furnished with GearBoss carts that allow many of the athletic teams to store all of their equipment and uniforms in a single, easily accessible location.

One wall of what was the visitor’s locker room was knocked down to create space for the new training room. The locker room is actually improved as a result of this renovation, according to Clements.

“It’s probably a little nicer and a lot brighter,” Clements said. “There will be benches all around and all the way down. Still the same existing bathroom and shower. They have two brand-new doors.”

The new space, according to Clements, will readily accommodate visiting teams.

“It’s more than enough room for them,” Clements said. “Most teams only bring about 60 guys. There’s 69 hooks in here.”

Robertson will also undergo significant changes to the field facilities in the coming months.

“Robertson had a couple visions, or at least one other vision, but the one that we’re going with now is going to be a turf field with two grass fields that are perpendicular to the one turf field,” Purnomo said. “The turf will be primarily for field hockey and women’s lacrosse, but can also serve as a practice field when we get the Meadville rain, and the fields are swamped, and it’s going to handle rain much better than just your regular field.”

One of the grass fields will serve as a practice field for men’s and women’s soccer, and the other will serve as a game field for the soccer teams.

The two former fields sat at different heights, but are currently being levelled to create one level for the grass and turf fields, Purnomo said. A new scoreboard will also be installed.

Purnomo said no definitive timeline exists on the project.

“(On) the morning of Aug. 13, (the construction workers) finally got a bucket in the ground, and I have not been given a completion time, but obviously, we want to get this done before snowfall,” Purnomo said. “Originally, it was going to be done for this fall season, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case.”

While the delays did affect teams’ fall seasons — particularly men’s and women’s soccer — Purnomo said, they were able to rearrange and coordinate schedules in a way that was conducive to both practices and competition.