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Sports >  NCAA

Eastern Washington completes renovation of athletic pavilion

UPDATED: Wed., May 11, 2022

By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

The Pavilion and Albers Court have long held a central place within the Eastern Washington University sports complex.

Located on the southern side of Reese Court, the semi-covered pavilion was open to the air, its central courtyard occupied by a couple of trees.

During football season, trainers would fill cold tubs and place them in the covered areas for players to use. The space also served as a spot to park the department’s John Deere carts, said Wes Sohns, EWU’s assistant athletic director for sports medicine.

But there really wasn’t much foot traffic in the space.

“Overall,” Sohns said, “it wasn’t really being used for anything other than storage.”

That’s no longer the case, though, after a yearlong renovation project wrapped up construction in April. For the past month, the seven-member training team and the 300-plus athletes at Eastern Washington have been doing much more with the space than they were able to previously.

“It’s been very nice,” Sohns said.

EWU secured funding for the $4.9 million project, which entered planning phases in 2018, in the capital budget of the 2019 legislative session. The training suite is now nearly three times as large as it was previously, significantly increasing the capacity.

Even still, the training rooms – which have space for 16 tables, nine more than before – can get busy. Sohns estimated that during an afternoon in-season, there are between 15 and 20 athletes receiving treatment.

“Our tables are full,” Sohns said. “We use all the space we have.”

The renovations also added two classrooms for EWU’s Wellness and Movement Sciences programs and more office space.

The courtyard remains open-air, but the trees are gone. Instead, more of the program’s signature red turf was installed wall to wall. That’s beneficial, Sohns said, because instead of walking to Roos Field or the nearby soccer field, athletes can do some of their work right outside the door of the training room.

The new training space also includes three key upgrades that were “must-haves”, Sohns said: an X-ray, an anti-gravity treadmill and two large above-ground Grimm pools.

The X-ray is particularly useful during football season, Sohns said, because on Saturday afternoons the local clinic is closed; in the past, if a player needed an X-ray they had to be taken to Spokane.

The anti-gravity treadmill “helps us tremendously from a rehab standpoint,” Sohns said. “It feels like you’re running on the moon – at least I can imagine so.”

Sohns said people can run on the treadmill with a more normal form than they can in a pool, and it can allow injured athletes to maintain their conditioning level while they rehab.

The hot and cold pools, which each seat 10 to 15 athletes, are already a hit, Sohns said.

All of the amenities in the new space excite Sohns, who is eager to see the space fully used again come fall, when nearly every team on campus is doing some sort of activity.

“I don’t think it’s really been put to the test yet,” Sohns said.

“This fall is when we’re really going to see the benefits of it.”

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