Field house contruction set to begin
In the coming months, Roosevelt University will begin building the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center, which will be home to its intercollegiate and intramural sports programs. The school plans to open the doors to the facility in fall 2012.
The decision to build was prompted by an increase in the on-campus population and a spike in younger students.
Roosevelt broke ground for the construction on July 26 and is waiting on a final permit before work begins in the lot across the street from the 33 E. Congress Parkway Building.
Mike Cassidy, Roosevelt’s director of intercollegiate athletics, said the project will cost approximately $9 million, with a majority of the funds coming from private donations. The Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation gave $3 million for the field house.
“Space is at a premium downtown. The fact that some school was able to put together some cash to develop a facility makes it so much of an advantage for anyone around here,” said
Mark Brticevich, Columbia’s coordinator of fitness, athletics and recreation.
Columbia has had an 18-year athletic relationship with Roosevelt and Cassidy said there is no reason it should not continue. Currently, the two colleges are jointly using the South Loop Elementary School’s gym, 1212 S. Plymouth Court, for recreational and intramural sports.
“Our students congregate together outside of the classroom on a regular basis because of their proximity,” Cassidy said. “It fosters community between both institutions.”
Cassidy wants both intramural sports programs to combine and form a league of 30 students instead of 15. Roosevelt still needs to see how things will work from a timing standpoint but believes it will be resolved, he said.
“It will bring limited access to facilities where [Columbia students] can play intramurals,” Brticevich said.
He believes space and time will be limited to Columbia students because Roosevelt’s varsity basketball and volleyball teams will be there for practices and games most of the week, especially with both teams’ respective seasons close to beginning. Cassidy said the field house is better described as a center for students because he wants it to cater to Roosevelt students. If the students want dodgeball, he said he will included dodgeball.
“We want to provide the flavors that our students want to consume,”Cassidy said.
He says, the first floor of the complex will have locker rooms, administrative offices, two multifunctional meeting rooms and a student lounge.
The building will be four stories tall but will only have two floors. Roosevelt’s intercollegiate men’s and women’s volleyball and basketball teams will have the second floor, with a three-floor span and a 40 foot high ceiling, to practice. The competition floor will also have retractable stands that can become extra practice space.
When the gym opens, the school wants to use social media to inform students on when the gym will be available, Cassidy said.
“We are looking into Facebook and Twitter applications so we can constantly let students know when the gym is open and when activities are being offered,” Cassidy said.