Chase gym receives first renovation in eight years
Administration funds another athletics project to meet increased strain on facility. | Caleb Raney / THE CHIMES
Chase Gymnasium will receive its fourth expansion since its construction in 1966, offering additional space for cramped student athlete practices and workouts by 2020.
ADDRESSING LONG-STANDING NEEDS
The emphasis on athletic facilities addresses student needs both recent and historic, according to vice president of university operations and finance Michael Pierce. He believes that while administration has responded to Biola’s entry into NCAA Division II by investing resources into athletics, the gym renovations also allow the facility to serve a student population which has grown immensely since the building’s construction.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, that’s because of NCAA.’ But Chase auditorium was built in 1966 when we had 1,200 students on this campus. Now we have 4,000 on this campus,” Pierce said. “It’s been 50 years since we’ve had a renovation of some of our facilities. Maybe we should do that.”
The last major renovation involved an expansion of the fitness center and training facilities in 2010, according to senior director of facilities management Brian Phillips. The upcoming renovation will expand the gym by 1,040 square feet.
The Board of Trustees approved the renovations in January after the kinesiology department left the gym offices for Soubirou Hall and the Alton and Lydia Lim Center for Science, Technology and Health. The board also approved the $2 million needed to fund the intramural and events center.
“We work with departments across the campus, and we made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on a number of projects that were presented somewhat in an order of priority,” Phillips said. “The Board of Trustees selected those projects that they wanted to move forward, and this was one of them.”
Administration must find the means of paying for the approximate $6.4 million renovations by May, according to Pierce.
However, the board decided against constructing a second floor above the wings of the gym where most of the renovations will take place after discovering that the project would cost an additional $5.7 million. The renovations will build foundations for a second story, which would include two classrooms, a conference room and locker rooms, according to Pierce.
IMPROVING THE GAME
Volleyball player and junior human biology major Brinley Beresford believes the renovations will help with space concerns.
“Everything is very functional, but everything is fairly old and fairly small,” Beresford said. “Like right now, we share a locker room with both women’s soccer and cross country, so it’s a lot of girls in a small space.”
She also believes the improved facilities will help bring in stronger athletes.
“I think [the renovations will] just let everybody be able to train a little harder and just have more accessible resources, and I think it’ll also attract some better athletes to school because right now, that’s definitely something athletes look at when they’re visiting, is the facilities,” Beresford said.
The renovations will also benefit the overall student body, according to Pierce.
“I think that athletics plays an important role in the community for other students, those who maybe are not participating in a sport,” Pierce said. “Just because you’re not playing basketball doesn’t mean you don’t like going and seeing us beat APU.”