South Loop Elementary School gym now available for Columbia students

By Nader Ihmoud

Four college students from three different institutions played a pick-up game of basketball in South Loop Elementary School’s gym, 1212 S. Plymouth Court. The gym opened on Sept. 18 for recreational basketball and volleyball.

According to the Columbia Renegades President Kevin Hartmann, the gym has never been available this early to Columbia and Roosevelt University students in the years he has been at Columbia. Students who want to participate must have a valid school ID with a waiver on file.

“We are excited to get the program off the ground [and] hopefully be able to get our different club teams in there to practice and also get intramural basketball and intramural dodgeball, those kind of things up and running again,” Hartmann said.

The gym is currently available only for open play, but once the availability of each club team is known, the first three hours of the gym will be open to all, and the last hour will be reserved for a specific Renegades team, according to Hartmann.

William Dukes, sophomore computer networking major at Robert Morris University, said the number of patrons gradually grows as the time passes.

“Everybody comes and plays like a group activity,” Dukes said.

The school’s gym is not a regulation court, but Leyaris Brown, an accounting major at Roosevelt, does not mind the 63 foot by 40foot gym. He said all he wants is to be able to break a sweat while playing the game he loves so he can forget about his school work.

“This is like a getaway,” Brown said. “This is a stress reliever [be]cause I love to hoop. I might try out for [Roosevelt’s basketball] team, but by me working, this is the only thing I really got.”

Brown said he needs to stay active.

“I can’t just do work and come home,” he said. “I gotta get my basketball in.”

Even though the gym is only open Monday through Wednesday at 6–10 p.m., students who want to work out during the rest of the week can use Columbia’s Fitness Center in the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Court.

“If I can’t come up here, I’ll just go to the [Plymouth Court Fitness Center] because the [South Loop Elementary School] gym is only open [three days a week],” Brown said.

At the South Loop Elementary School’s gym the basketball players typically play 21, a game where each player plays for himself; first to reach 21 points wins. When there are enough students participating, they pick teams and play.

“I used to come here last year so everyone is excited to be back in the gym,” Dukes said.