Delays to construction on gym

By Yaseem Salama / Asst. News Editor

Delayed face lift (Allison Perez / Asst. Photo Editor )

By Yaseem Salama / Asst. News Editor

The Wheelock Gym at Riverside City College has been undergoing major construction since June of 2010 to update the multipurpose facility for the fall of 2011.

But with the recent bankruptcy of one of the major contractors on the project, student athletes will have to wait a few more months to utilize the modernized gymnasium.

 One of 11 contractors working on the project, Tidwell Concrete Construction Inc. went bankrupt and pulled out of the project. Though construction did not cease entirely, the default delayed the gym’s progress.

Jim Parsons, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications and Relations, said in an e-mail that GDA Inc., a company that came highly recommended to the district, has been cleared by the Board of Trustees to complete the concrete portions of the project.

He said that once GDA is “underway, the project team will review the schedule again to determine where work can be re-sequenced to recover lost time.”

But even with the new contractor, the gym will not be completed by the date originally predicted in August, which would’ve allowed the basketball preseason games to take place on the freshly laid floors.

Alicia Berber, the women’s basketball coach, said that the delay would not affect her team.

“It didn’t effect us last year; it won’t effect us this year,” said Berber.

She said she scheduled all of the team’s preseason games off campus and so would not need the new gym until the regular season anyway.

“I was prepared for this,” Berber said. “Even if we can’t play the regular season in the gym, we’ll just adjust.”

The men’s basketball coach, John Smith, said that “the impact on the team can be huge if you let it” but his team has adjusted to the temporary change just as well.

For the past year, the teams have played home games at local high schools and have practiced in the smaller, Huntley Gym shared with the general fitness classes and the volleyball teams.

The Huntley Gym has two baskets as opposed to the standard six that Smith said is essential for college basketball training.  

Though the basketball players adjusted to using less baskets for the time being, Berber said it would be nice to move back to the Wheelock Gym.

“I’m sure everybody would appreciate not having to share the space. It’s a little inconvenient,” Berber said.

Construction is now scheduled for completion in December to mid January.

RCC Athletic Director Barry Meier said he is “crossing his fingers” that the regular basketball season will be in the new gym.

He said that other delays have occurred in the past including weather and unforeseen challenges with construction that still may hinder completion.

“A lot could happen. It’s a major project,” Meier said. “I think I remember seeing that it’s about 35 percent complete, so there’s still a lot to do.”