Justine Boggs / Lantern reporter
The Ohio State Athletics Department began a two-part project to renovate the locker rooms and build a new practice gym for the men’s and women’s basketball team near the northwest rotunda at the Schottenstein Center.
Ben Jay, executive associate athletics director told The Lantern the expansion allows for a more versatile student-athlete schedule.
“When the gym is used by events, teams have to go to St. John or even the RPAC,” he said. “This expansion will allow more flexibility for our teams.”
Renovations will begin in May after the athletic department receives bids from construction companies. The project is expected to be completed by September 2013.
“It’s much easier than building a new facility, we need to blow out the space and renovate it,” Jay said.
The project will cost about $13.7 million, 93 percent of which was fundraised.
“A lot of great Buckeyes responded (to the fundraising effort),” Jay said of the fundraising effort.
Assistant men’s basketball coach Jeff Boals said the bar has been raised for Big Ten facilities and it’s important they are updated.
“We spend so much time in the locker rooms. It will be a great place to hang out before practice, after practice and between classes,” he said.
A new strength and conditioning area will replace the loading dock located at the west end of the Schottenstein Center. The athletic training room will be extended and enlarged to benefit both basketball teams and men’s ice hockey.
“There’s 24/7 access, getting in on their own to shoot or to work on their game,” Boals said. “To have that access will be huge in the development.”
The main concern is getting the locker rooms completed by summer. During the 2012-2013 basketball season, there will be a temporary strength and conditioning room made somewhere in the Schottenstein Center.
“We will be giving them a new locker room and team area with a different configuration adding team meeting rooms,” he said.
The project planning began more than two years ago and ideas from facilities across the country will be implemented.
“It was time to renovate our locker rooms. You have to remember, the Schott is almost 12 years old,” Jay said.
Men’s and women’s basketball coaches have been in conversation about what they think would be helpful to the programs.
“No. 1, it starts with the administration and development team. Buckeye Nation never ceases to amaze me,” Boals said. “To support the men’s and women’s basketball programs, it says a lot.”