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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Recreation Center to undergo massive renovations

<rleton Recreation Center will soon be improving their facilities and upgrading their features. In May, the building will be undergoing a series of renovations. The Recreation Center, constructed in 2000, is home to many of Carleton’s athletic facilities, including a 200-meter indoor track, four indoor tennis and basketball courts, racquetball courts, a fitness center, a weight room, an aerobics studio and a climbing wall.

Starting this spring, the entire fieldhouse in the upstairs level of the Recreation Center will be replaced. Mikki Showers, manager of the recreation center, explained that “the entire fieldhouse floor upstairs will be replaced with all the divider curtains.” This includes renovations to the courts, track and safety curtains.

Now almost 18 years old, the upstairs floor and track have held up well, in part due to the maintenance work of custodial workers. However, in recent years, coaches, trainers and players began to report patterns of injuries that were occurring among the athletes.

“There was an increasing number of stress reactions and stress fractures, particularly in the mid-foot and mid-shin areas,” Showers said. It began predominantly with the Carleton track and field athletes, but soon progressed to include the baseball and softball players as well. When the track was initially constructed, the resources for building high quality athletic facilities was limited, so the current track simply consists of a six-millimeter piece of rubber over solid concrete. Over time, the track has compressed and become very hard. This concern was brought to the attention of facilities for safety reasons, and soon afterwards, the Board  of Facilities approved the proposed renovations.

To renew the track, the school decided on a process called an overlay, which essentially entails an improved track going directly over the top of the current floor. “This process saves money, saves time, and saves on demolition and disposal”, said Showers. Extensive research was put into this project with the goal of creating the highest quality space for the athletes. Carleton faculty visited various colleges last summer, such as North Central College, Northern Illinois University and West Point, to name a few, in order to consider and ultimately find the best possible options for the renovations. Showers and Carleton Athletic Director, Gerald Young, heavily invested themselves into this process, as they were both committed to having such a substantial project done right. “In the end, we feel we made the right choice for several different reasons,” Showers said. The new floor is an excellent multi-use surface, which was a top priority. Particularly, the surface will be excellent for tennis teams, and the tennis coaches were included in the decision-making process for the floor materials. The durable track will also allow for the use of spikes by the track and field athletes.

The Athletic Department felt confident in choosing the company Connor Sports to redo the floors. The company wasn’t just interested in selling the school a track, but rather in establishing a relationship with Carleton. They hope to have the president of the company visit the school in the near future and talk to athletes and students about potential opportunities in their profession. The current safely curtains which divide the fieldhouse into sections will also be replaced. The new curtains will be connected to a portable tablet that can control the movements of the curtains and basketball hoops from anywhere in the Recreation Center, as an upgrade from the old-fashioned twist dials that are currently used.

As for an estimated time for completion, the renovations will be done in stages. Starting May 7 to approximately May 18, the curtains will be replaced with the goal of having the construction cleared before Spring Concert. Following the Carleton Reunion in mid-June, the floor project will begin. The school is hoping to have the floors completed no later than the second week of August, with fall varsity teams beginning to arrive soon after. It will be a very sizable project, but the Athletic Department claims to be significantly under budget, with facilities covering all the total costs.

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