It is common to see four pickup basketball games going on at once in the gyms of Ohio State’s largest recreational center.
However, players at the RPAC have found two of the four basketball courts in the lower Tom W. Davis Special Events Gym roped off since around Thanksgiving, senior associate director of facilities for OSU recreational sports Dave DeAngelo said.
A broken piece of equipment is to blame for the closure, DeAngelo said.
“We had a problem with an air handler that broke in a room directly north of the gym,” DeAngelo said. “Heating hot water from the air handler went all over the floor. It caused the building to go into fire alarm mode from the steam. Water causes the boards to warp. That happened pretty quickly after we got the water cleaned up.”
The replacement wood for the courts did not arrive until Jan. 6, at which point construction began immediately. DeAngelo estimates the project should be completed the week of Feb. 24.
DeAngelo said there is an outstanding insurance claim for the repairs. The cost of the project is estimated to be about $70,000, though the facility would only have to pay a $25,000 deductible if the insurance claim goes through.
This is not the first time the RPAC has had to deal with this kind of problem. In Spring Semester 2013, a sprinkler head went off during an intramural basketball game that necessitated repairs to Court 4, the same northernmost court in the lower gym.
Only Court 4 needed to be redone in this instance as well, with adjacent Court 3 shut down in order to house the equipment for the repairs and to keep people’s shoes off the damaged court. DeAngelo said the maintenance workers at the RPAC were able to prevent the water from damaging Court 3 after the leak.
“We preventatively cut a trench in the floor to prevent water from getting any further,” DeAngelo said.
Basketball players at the RPAC have had to deal with larger crowds and longer waits to get into a game with only two out of the four courts in the lower gym available for play. There are a total of 12 wood courts available for use at the RPAC.
“It definitely seems to be more crowded on the courts than all of the other times I’ve been here,” said Derek Green, a first-year graduate student of history.
Derrell Northern, 31, a banker for Chase Bank on High Street, estimated that it took about 30 minutes for someone arriving at the gym to find a spot in a game at about 1 p.m. Feb. 2.
“I would say there are at least 10 to 15 people waiting to get into a game,” Northern said. “If we had more courts, it would cut down on the time because there’d be more games, not just two.”
DeAngelo expressed frustration at the timing of this reconstruction.
“It’s the busiest time of the year for us, so it stinks that it’s down right now,” DeAngelo said, citing New Year’s resolutions and the start of the intramural basketball season in January as the primary reasons for increased activity.
In order to manage the decreased space for the intramural basketball games, DeAngelo said more games were added to the Adventure Recreation Center on West Campus.
Players who are tired of waiting on the sideline to play pickup games only have to deal with the congestion caused for a few more weeks, provided the project stays on time.
“We’re a few weeks away, and will be very happy to have it back,” DeAngelo said.