Grand beginning at new gym space

By JeffGraveline

For Columbia students who have wanted a new space to play basketball, volleyball or any other activity that needs gym space, the wait is finally over.

After losing the Herman Crown Center at Roosevelt University in April 2008, Columbia students had nowhere to shoot hoops or participate in any activity that didn’t involve a weight room.

That has now changed, as South Loop Elementary, located at 1212 S. Plymouth Court, has been opened to Columbia and Roosevelt students.

“The gym is going to open four days a week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. for intramurals and whatever else [the two schools] plan to use it for,” said Cathy Smith, a representative for South Loop Elementary. “[School activities] end at 6, that’s why [the colleges] have the gym from 6 to 10.”

After final negotiations ironed out all the details between Columbia, Roosevelt and South Loop Elementary, gym space officially opened Jan. 25 to students of Columbia and Roosevelt. Opening ceremonies are planned for Feb. 9.

“In the fall semester, we started with the new gym at Plymouth Court,” said Mark Brticevich, coordinator of Fitness, Athletics and Recreation at Columbia. “But we really didn’t have the real grand, grand opening. We intend on doing that Feb. 9.”

Inside the gym is a full-sized basketball court, with a raised stage off to one sideline that can be used for several purposes. The basketball court has planned use by both Columbia and Roosevelt as a space for intramural teams and open gym time for both schools.

“Our kids have the same needs … they want to have fitness opportunities and I think they can do them in the same spaces together,” Michael Cassidy, athletic director at Roosevelt University, told The Chronicle in the Oct. 12, 2009 issue.

While plans are still tentative about specific times that the two schools will be able to use the gym for their intramural clubs, open gym time is taking place every Monday through Thursday.

Although the gym may have only been open for a short time, that hasn’t stopped students from making use of the space, according to Brticevich, who said the

gym is getting “a fair amount of people”

every night.

“We’re just finalizing our schedule for intramurals and things of that nature,” Brticevich said. “We are going to be doing intramural volleyball and I think we’re going to do intramural dodgeball this semester. Then the days we aren’t doing intramurals, we’re going to have it open for basketball or volleyball.”

As specific plans for how and when to use the gym remain up in the air, there is one definite plan in place: the use of the gym Feb. 9 for its “Grand Opening” to students and faculty.

The facility will be open during its normal hours of operation for college students, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will have several events for both faculty and students from both Columbia and Roosevelt to take part in.

“We’re going to have food and refreshments there,” Brticevich said. “We are going to do the staff/faculty vs. student volleyball game, both for Roosevelt and Columbia and then the winners of that will play each other to see who has bragging rights. Then we’re going to do a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. We’re going to do dollar raffles and things like that. All the proceeds from the raffles and the entry fee for the basketball tournament will go to Haiti.”

For more information about the new gym visit For information about Fitness, Athletics and Recreation, find the Renegades on Facebook by searching Columbia College Athletics (Renegades).