New comfortable seating and a professional main gym floor are on their way to the Oland Centre, home of the StFX varsity basketball programs, the Department of Human Kinetics, and numerous student and Antigonish community recreation uses.
On April 10, phase one of multi-phase, multi-year renewal and update project began at the historic StFX building, which was opened in 1967, Canada’s centennial year, that when complete will see a new main gymnasium floor and new seats installed.
The much-needed renewal and updates are possible thanks to secured private donations, with efforts continuing. Those interested in becoming involved and supporting the project can do so through StFX’s Claim and Name Your Seat Campaign, which allows people to dedicate seats with name plates installed on the new seats.
This phase (new gym floor and seats) of the renewal and update is expected to be complete by the first of August and ready for summer basketball camps, says project manager Brian Doiron.
Both Mr. Doiron and Facilities Management director Leon MacLellan says the 50-year-old floor and bleachers were at the end of their life span. The floor had many dead spots and was showing its wear. The bleachers weren’t comfortable and not user friendly, lacking both aisles and rails.
Conceptual artist rendering of the project which includes all phases of the multi-year project. Phase one, currently underway, includes a new floor and seats.
Work is now progressing on taking out the old gym floor. The project will see the floor raised about two and a half inches, and a new Robbins university and pro-class floor installed.
The old bleachers have already been removed. New seating will be installed for around 1,200 people including about 800 chair seats on either sideline and plastic moulded bench seating on the end sides. The bleachers will be brought up to code and will be much more user friendly with aisles and rails added.
New lighting will be installed and new exhaust fans will improve the ventilation system. Part of the project will include better, mobile media scorekeeper tables.
Mr. Doiron says workers will save the big X crest at floor centre as well as a StFX logo and an X-Ring emblem from the floor, removing each in one piece. As well, they are working to keep a number of small floor samples, available as mementos.
“We are very excited about improving the student and fan experience at our games and replacing the court and the old bench style stands will play a big part,” says Leo MacPherson, StFX Director, Athletics & Recreation.
“One of the more unique features of our gymnasium is that the stands completely enclose the court on all four sides and we wanted to maintain this feature with the new design. It makes for a tremendous environment for both spectators and participants,” he says.
“This project will give us tremendous momentum to move forward with our facility renewal plans ensuring we can deliver a premier active living experience to all users.”
BECOME INVOLVED, CLAIM AND NAME YOUR SEAT TODAY
Under the Claim and Name campaign, people can buy a dedication nameplate to be installed on a seat.
“It’s an opportunity to leave your mark at X. The gym holds so many memories for so many people,” says Wendy Langley, StFX Director of Development.
“Whether you’re choosing to recognize a former coach, professor, teammate or that special individual who impacted your life at StFX, it’s a chance to memorialize that special moment of your StFX history,” she says.
Plaques cost $1,000 each and are payable as a lump sum or in $200 installments over five years. After five years, all have an option to renew the nameplate for $50. More details on the campaign can be found at the Claim and Name Your Seat webpage.
Ms. Langley says this campaign both supports the cost of the first phase of the project and will help kickstart a larger initiative to renew and update the entire Oland Centre.