Ryan Glavey

Sports Editor


Keene State College’s Spaulding Gymnasium has undergone some long over-due renovations this past summer, installing new bleacher sections and a new basketball court in the main gym.

“It’s been on the sport department’s long-term agenda for eight or nine years now,” Athletic Director John Ratliff said, “and we’ve been talking about renovating it since I’ve been here, so around 16 years now.”

KSC women’s basketball head coach, Keith Boucher, said until now, the floor was sanded down and refinished every year to preserve the court.

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However, he said the floor was plagued with numerous dead spots, where the ball wouldn’t bounce very well, and the floor was running out of surface wood, so something had to be done.

The facility has featured its original basketball court and bleachers since the building was constructed in 1968.

“The bleachers were so old, they weren’t really safe anymore,” Director of Campus Purchasing and Contract Service, James Draper said. “So when we decided to put in the new floor, we figured it would be a good time, and might as well replace the bleachers as well.”

Ratliff said the department put in a bid to do the renovations hoping to take advantage of the beneficial state the market is in.

Draper said the original target price for the product was $750,000. However, Draper said the bid for the project came in at $400,000, a staggeringly lower price.

“Not only were the renovations much needed, but it was financially beneficial to do [the renovations] now, because it was just so much cheaper than we envisioned,” KSC men’s basketball head coach Rob Colbert said.

Draper said the money for the project came out of the athletics and recreational sports money reserve pools.

An interesting setback arose once the original floors were pulled up, and the concrete subfloor was inspected.

“Anywhere within a five foot diameter the concrete varied in height by as much as a half inch,” Ratliff said.

This unexpected turn of events caused the original floor plan to be scrapped, in place of a new plan to level off the subfloor. Ratliff said the new plan cost approximately $10,000 more, but overall wasn’t very detrimental to the project.

However, now the floor sits half an inch higher than originally figured, so now the baskets have to be adjusted to reach the regulation ten feet requirements for the height of the rim from the floor.

The department is trying to raise funds to pay back into the pools they initially took the project money from by selling the naming and advertising rights of the seats, sections, and rows of the bleachers.

“We’ve sold probably 25 seats so far, but we’re really just getting started,” Director of Development Ken Goebel said.

Goebel said the department started this campaign a few months ago, and hopes that once people start going to volleyball and basketball games, they’ll be interested in purchasing their own seat.

Goebel said the department is sending fliers to alumni and contacting KSC’s athletic sponsors. Names will potentially be put on the arm of each chair, on the step of each row, and advertising banners above each section of the stands.

“With these improvements, vwe have one of the nicest, if not the nicest DIII facilities in New England,” Colbert said, “and like any addition to a college athletic facility, you hope it helps retain and attract high quality student athletes.”

Boucher said the new additions will have a big initial impact, creating a lot of buzz and enthusiasm among the players. He said it will be a nice novelty to begin with, but eventually the players will get used to it and those initial effects will wear off.

“My hope is the new stands will have the same effect as Cameron [Indoor Stadium] at Duke,” Boucher said, “And when the fans get in there they’ll get excited and really get into the game.”

Colbert said the bleachers will be great for the fan base, and the new floor should help the players.

Colbert said not only has this new floor done away with the annoying dead spots, but the new floor is springier, and should help reduce the strain on players’ knees and backs.

“Next on the agenda is building locker rooms out by the athletic complex, put up lights on the baseball field, and continue our development of the Expo Center,” Ratliff said.

The Spaulding Gymnasium’s new bleachers and basketball court were just the most recent additions in the department’s long-term plan to continue to improve KSC athletic facilities.


Ryan Glavey can be contacted at rglavey@keene-equinox.com



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