Reporter/videographer: Zach Pagano
The Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex doesn’t open until August 2010, but TommieMedia was allowed inside Wednesday on a guided tour to check out the progress.
Athletic director Steve Fritz, who was on his fifth tour of the facility, said the new field house is about twice as big as Coughlan Field House.
“You’ve been looking at plans for so long, and now you see how big it is,” he said. “You finally get to see what you’ve been looking at in drawings.”
In addition to sheer size, one of the greatest differences between the old Coughlan Field House and the new facility is natural lighting. Coughlan had virtually no natural lighting, but the new field house has three large windows on the east and west walls in addition to windows on the south roof, allowing for more sunlight than fluorescent lighting.
Wondering what the new arena will be named? Vice President for Student Affairs Jane Canney said tradition will carry on and the Tommies’ home court will once again be called Schoenecker Arena.
Fritz said he’s “thrilled” about the new arena.
“There were some questions whether you need to replace Schoenecker as it was a great home court, but it would cost us more to keep it updated,” Fritz said. “Schoenecker used to be 1,600 [capacity] and now it’ll be 2,000. So it’s nice to grow by a fifth.”
Exterior construction on the athletic center is still in progress. Once O’Shaughnessy Hall is demolished, Jim Brummer, St. Thomas’ assistant construction manager, said the south end of the athletic center will be extended another 30 feet. The extra room will house labs for the health and human performance department.
Brummer said while 148 men currently work on the facility, that number will increase to 160 in the coming weeks.
Shane Kitzman can be reached at email@example.com.