Ground was broken Wednesday on a new gymnasium that could raise the profile of Spokane Falls Community College.
And not just in intercollegiate sports.
“We do pretty well in basketball, anyway,” joked Ken Burrus, athletic director for the Community Colleges of Spokane. “But I think this is for the entire college and the community and is going to be a focal point for activities and student engagement.”
Once the $18 million building is completed in June 2018, SFCC students will find themselves engaged with a fitness center, weight room, lounges and a two-story climbing wall.
“The students gave us a wish list for what they wanted,” Burrus said.
The building also will have classrooms and offices for coaches and instructors.
The centerpiece of the 23,700-square-foot project is the gymnasium, which will host intercollegiate basketball and volleyball in addition to physical education classes.
The gym, which replaces a 50-year-old building. It will seat about 1,900.
Burrus hopes the new facility will boost recruiting, but added that “the key is what it’s going to do for the entire college.”
The building has been on SFCC’s wish list for a decade. However, tight purse strings following the 2008 recession led the Washington Legislature to halt state funding for gymnasiums and similar facilities at state-supported colleges.
However, SFCC students voted in 2015 to build the facility with student funds over the next 20 years.
“This gym means a lot to the students and symbolizes more than just a new facility,” said Caleb Olson, the student body president. “It highlights SFCC’s commitment to collaborative leadership.”
Gymnasium activities will be relocated during construction to Spokane Community College, and faculty and staff offices have been moved to temporary locations at SFCC.
The CCS men’s basketball team will continue to play most of its games at Spokane Community College, while the women will play at SFCC.
The gym was designed by Integrus Architecture PS. Lydig Construction Inc. is the general contractor.
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