Wheelock gym gets face lift

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By Takahiro Kurosaki / Staff Writer

New Changes (Sade Hurst / Opinions Editor)

By Takahiro Kurosaki / Staff Writer

Home for Riverside City College’s Tigers for almost 100 years, the Wheelock Gymnasium is getting some tender, love and care.

A long planned renovation of the gym will begin in the middle of July and is scheduled for completion in August 2011.

The structure of the gym no longer meets seismic safety codes since it was built in 1928 and the renovation will focus on updating the gym.

Since the San Andreas Fault runs along the San Gabriel Mountains and is close to San Bernardino, this makes the gym susceptible to damage if there is an earthquake.

Steps will be taken to ensure the building is up to code for the State of California and will be closed approximately a year during construction.

The renovation is part of the Wheelock Seismic Retrofit Project, managed internally through the Facilities Planning Design & Construction Department along with the president, vice president and all stakeholders involved with the project.

“The project qualified for state funding and moved forward with design development along with the participation of the various user groups who utilize the Wheelock gymnasium,” said Michael Stephens, AIA, Capital Program Administrator for the Riverside Community College District.

“The project had been identified on the Campus Facilities Master Plan for many years, and in light of the service it provides to the college and community, it was an obvious one to advance,” he said.

The primary purpose of the project is to make necessary seismic retrofit of the structure to prepare for potential earthquakes.

“It is to ensure that this historically important building is around for another 80 plus years of service to the college and community,” Stephens said.

“The seismic component brings the building into Field Act compliance mandated by the Division of the State Architect, and it will make it comparable to new buildings in terms of seismic performance,” he said.

Also,the project aims to improve the quality of the building by remodeling facilities, upgrading mechanical, electrical and data systems and enhancing the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility improvements.

“It qualified in the State program for funding us to not only bring it up to current seismic standards, but address mechanical performance, acoustic, energy efficiency and accessibility issues at the same time,” Stephens said.

The new gym will provide new basketball courts, seating, scoreboards, coaches’ offices, locker rooms, fitness room and classroom. Students welcomed the renovation.

“Sounds pretty good,” said RCC student Michael Chang. “Actually, I don’t use the gym so much, but I think it is very important for athletes to be able to train in a good quality”

The renovation is also expected to benefit the community.

“The gym will be a modernized, equipped facility and one that the students and community can take pride in,” said Barry Meier, the Dean of the Physical Education and Athletics Department.

During the renovation, physical education and athletics will move to a temporary structure near Huntley Gym.

Also, the basketball teams will play their home games at North High School for the year.

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