KEENE, N.H. 6/24/11 – Showing a little bit of its age, Keene State’s Spaulding Gym is getting a makeover this summer. Built in the late 1960s and dedicated in 1968, the gym is getting the works with a new floor, new state-of-the-art bleachers, and a fresh paint job to complement nearly new scoreboards put in five years ago and lighting installed last year.
“It’s really a bonus for us. It’ll make this one of the nicest Division III facilities in New England,” said Keene State Athletics Director John Ratliff. “It will look like a brand new facility.”
The price tag for the project is $400,000. According to Ratliff, the money will come from the Athletics reserve fund for capital projects.
The updated facility will enhance the playing conditions for Keene State athletes and improve the atmosphere for Owl fans. More than 40 years of activity has done a job on the Spaulding Gym floor. The new floor will float on sleepers, giving it more resiliency. The same floor can be found at several NBA venues.
The new bleachers will feature individual pop-up chair-back seats on one side of the gym and traditional bleacher seating – in Keene State red – on the opposite side. “We polled many of the students and they actually preferred the bleacher seats, so they can lean back and visit with people more freely,” said Ratliff.
There will also be 16 wheelchair accessible seats to make the gym compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act mandates.
Although the seating capacity will drop from 1,800 to 1,500, Ratliff said there won’t be a bad seat in the house. “Everyone’s going to be right on top of the action,” he said. “You put 1,200 in our gym and it’s going to look packed.”
Keene State is also raising funds to offset the expense of the gym upgrade, including a Pick Your Seat Campaign, giving fans an opportunity to purchase seats, rows, and sections of seats with names inscribed on the chair arm rest or stair riser. To reserve your seat you can go to www.keeneowls.com/bleacherproject or call 603-358-2375.
The renovation is expected to be completed in time for convocation on August 26. The first women’s volleyball game at Spaulding Gym is scheduled for Sept. 6, and the first basketball game, a women’s contest against RPI, will take place on Nov. 15.
Follow the Spaulding Gym renovation:
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