Administration gets their head in the game
Students in some intramurals will have new game locations in Fall 2019. | Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
As more athletic teams require access to the gymnasium, administration has formulated plans to build an intramural and events center for $2 million to open in fall 2019.
CREATING MORE FLEXIBILITY
Although the plans have been in motion for the past few years before Biola joined NCAA Division II, the Board of Trustees approved funding for the project in January. The center will primarily provide additional space for indoor intramural teams to have games during waking hours, as well as an area for events that typically require renting the tent by Flour Fountain. The center, located in parking Lot E behind the library, can house either two basketball courts or three volleyball courts depending on the needed set-up, according to vice president of university operations and finance Michael Pierce.
“Over the years, we’ve seen more and more demand on the gymnasium, and the shift to NCAA has put increasing demand that our team and visiting teams need to have access to the gymnasium,” said Brian Phillips, senior director of facilities management. “And we’re also hearing that many of our intramural sports are often times forced to play quite late in the gym, so I think this will help alleviate the pressures that we have on the gym and just provide more open time for recreation on our campus.”
The increased availability improves because of the structure’s large size, approximately the size of the current gym, at 120 feet by 120 feet and 43 feet tall at its peak, according to Phillips. According to Pierce the structure will also appear similar to a tent, however, with the inclusion of air conditioning and restrooms.
“I think it’s just going to be a really fun, cool place to hang out and I think students are going [to] really enjoy it. We’re looking forward to having it on campus,” Pierce said.
While the structure provide space for indoor intramurals, it also holds event capabilities, such as conferences or other large-scale events typically housed in a rented white tent near Flour Fountain. In 2016 and 2017, permit costs totaled $10,590 and tent rentals $105,678, according to Phillips. The new center will eliminate these costs.
STEPS TO COMPLETION
While administration remains excited for the new center, they must first receive approval from the city of La Mirada due to the project’s deviation from Biola’s original master plan, according to Phillips. The original plan included a permanent structure, whereas the new structure will last approximately 15 to 20 years, according to Pierce. Despite this added step, Phillips hopes to complete the project by fall 2019.
With this goal in mind, students support the idea of an added area for sports and events, including sophomore business administration major Andrea Martinez.
“I support sports, I think that’s a good idea. I don’t play any of those sports but... it’s nice the people can play sports and stuff,” Martinez said.
Another student, junior music in worship major Bethel Sult, shared how she remains unsure about the funding for the project.
“I think they need to utilize the money for other things first, like the washing machines downstairs that are falling apart and the wall paper that’s peeling, legit. I don’t know. I support it, but I think that practical measures need to be dealt with first,” Sult said. “I like the idea but the funding, I don’t know, I don’t think Biola’s wise with their funding right now.”