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Fieldhouse sees extensive renovations

By Adam Troxtell
On January 20, 2010

The Texas A&M University-Commerce Field House underwent an extensive facelift over the Winter break.

Starting with repairs to the roof, a new floor and scoreboards were added before the spring semester began, and new locker rooms for all the teams playing in the field house will be ready before the basketball games on Wednesday night, Jan. 20, according to Athletic Director Carlton Cooper.

"We're excited we get to reopen the place tonight, and all of our students will get to open it with us," Cooper said.

He also said he hopes the additions, which all together cost in the region of $140,000, will help fans become more involved in the game. For example, the new scoreboards are larger than the old ones and contain a section which shows the numbers of the basketball players currently on the court plus the amount of points and fouls they have accumulated during the game.

"We are trying that with our programs so people can get more engaged in the game, keeping up with the points. You like to see how many points this person has or how many fouls this person has," Cooper said.

Cooper said the idea to make renovations to the Field House was brought up last year, before the athletic referendum, which was passed last fall, took place. Once revenue and sponsors were in place, they could begin. The initial deadline was to have all renovations complete by the beginning of the year, and although that was not met, repairs and building did not conflict with any basketball games.

"Everything met its deadline, we just had a faster timeline that we wanted it to be in," Cooper said. "Everything that was replaced needed to be replaced. Our fans, our student athletes, our student body, they go to other places and see other facilities. I want our students to be able to come in and see things they see at other places and be proud of the university they are at."

New and improved facilities usually provide a boost to an athletic program and to the players that use them. Sophomore men's basketball player Brad Hambrick said he enjoys having the new additions at the Field House.

"I don't think it'll make us any better or any worse, but it's always nice having new stuff," Hambrick said. "I think it'll make more people come out and want to enjoy it as much as we do."

While Hambrick does not see the renovations having a big effect on how the teams play, junior Genevieve Campbell said it could have a positive effect.

"We're starting to get things that look a lot better than what they were before, so you look good, feel good, play good," she said. "I think [the fans] are going to be more excited about new people, new players, new coaches. They're going to be really interested to see what we're bringing, so I think all of it will bring out more people."

The Field House renovations are not the final piece of the facilities overhaul which also included a new football locker room, completed last semester. Cooper said there were still upgrades to be made, and the Athletics Department would be doing some fundraising to ensure the plans go ahead. One of the plans is to add a new side to Memorial Stadium in hopes the university will host more UIL and high school sports competitions.

"There are some little things we're going to do," Cooper said. "We've got the new side of the stadium going in, and we're just waiting for approval. By putting in the new football locker room, we had to move some track things. So, we have to redo the shot-put area, the javelin area, and the hammer throw area."

All of the changes made to athletics facilities will be renovations rather than building them completely new. Cooper said he felt upgrading in this fashion is more cost effective.

"The Field House is a great place, it just needed some of the things we're doing right now," he said. "The more we upgrade, the better it will be. A lot of people want new, but I just think you can enhance what you have."


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