Clayton State Athletics & Fitness Center basketball arena renovated
MORROW, GA – With more than 20 years of play, a number of championship games and many fond memories, the basketball arena at Clayton State's Athletics & Fitness Center has gotten a face lift.
With basketball practice for the 2012-13 men's and women's basketball teams scheduled to start today (October 15th), workers are putting the finishing touches on a major renovation to the Lakers' home court that truly is amazing.
"This really was a team effort by those at Clayton State," said athletic director Carl McAloose. "It is amazing what our talented staff at Clayton State has accomplished, dramatically changing the atmosphere of the complex while keeping costs to a minimum. It certainly proved to me that we have an outstanding group of people on this campus who understand how to get the most out of your dollar and how hard people will work to make Clayton State even better."
According to head men's coach Gordon Gibbons, who is entering his 11th season at Clayton State, "It has been an unbelievable transformation and looks like we have a brand new facility. Everybody in our program is excited about the upgrades. Thanks to all that have made this happen."
Renovation of the facility began during the summer, as the facility was completely repainted. The four-week painting project of the facility consisted of painting the ceiling and all of the interior walls. The ceiling was painted white, while the interior walls are white and Clayton State blue.
Next on the agenda was the removal of the hardwood floor, which had been in place since the beginning of Clayton State's basketball program in 1990.
Understandably, the demolition of the floor was an emotional part of the project, as many memories were forged on the original floor, including the 2010-11 NCAA Division II Women's Southeast Regional Championship, which later culminated into the school's first National Championship a week later.
"It is with mixed emotions that I watch the new gym floor being torn apart and reconstructed," said head women's coach Dennis Cox. "As excited as we are to be getting a new floor with new paint and logos and all, some of our finest hours as a basketball program took place on the old parquet. It was pretty emotional for me to watch it go."
After the removal of the hardwood floor, next on the project list was the removal and installation of new lights for the Athletics & Fitness Center. The facility is now completely lit by LED lightning, which is much brighter and more efficient. The installation of the lights was performed by the Clayton State Facilitates Management team, and University officials say the efficiency savings from the LED lighting will pay for the light portion of the project in approximately four years.
"The team who put this together understood what the investment would be and I know it will pay off," said McAloose. "I hope now our student-athletes and fans will enjoy the new environment that has been provided and we will be filling every seat in the place."
Along with the installation of the lights, Facilities Management also assisted Athletics in repositioning the Clayton State's championship banners for more prominence. Another improvement to the facility will be the installation of new lighted corporate sponsorship signage on the north end of the court later this fall.
The final stage of the project was the installation of the new hardwood floor, which also consisted of finishing and painting the court. The new hardwood court will feature the new Clayton State Athletics logo along with the Peach Belt Conference and NCAA insignias. The court is outlined in Clayton State blue and accented with Clayton State orange on several spots of the floor.
"We have always felt that even though we didn't have the biggest facility compared to others we play, what we did have was special, and I feel like we have used the uniqueness of it to our advantage," said Cox. "We all had our special spots on that old floor… and special memories - ones we will never forget. Now we are anxious to get started making fresh memories on a beautiful new floor."
The Department of Athletics is planning its official ribbon-cutting for the new facility on Tuesday, November 13th when the Laker women's program will play an exhibition game against a Laker Alumni team at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men's program, opening its season against Tennessee Temple at 7:30 p.m.