Friday, 21 August 2009

New Queen's Facility Update

Much has been made of the new 2,000 seat facility for Queen's basketball that was set to open in time for this season however an unfortunate flood has pushed back the opening to later this season (hopefully).

Flood delays gym debut


The scheduled fall opening of the main gym in the Queen's Centre is in jeopardy after a torrential downpour ruined the floor last Tuesday.

After examining the floor following the flood, Queen's officials determined it was beyond repair.

The university and Westpoint Sports Flooring and Equipment, a Toronto company, will have to take out the damaged floor and replace it with a new one. All costs are covered by insurance, and the parties have not set a final timeline.

While the athletic facility remains slated to open sometime this fall, the opening of the main gym could be pushed back.

"I would think we'll be playing on the floor before the end of the (varsity sport) season (in March 2010)," Leslie Dal Cin, Queen's director of athletics and recreation, said.

Until the 2,000-seat main gym is ready, Queen's basketball and volleyball teams will continue playing and practising in Bartlett Gym. The Queen's Physical Education Centre also houses two other gyms, which will hold programs slated for the Queen's Centre while work continues on that facility.

"We still can accommodate all of our programs," Dal Cin said. "We'll have to discuss things like how are we going to work between two buildings, but it is just simple logistics."

Queen's never has finalized an opening date for the Queen's Centre because construction timelines are fuzzy at the best of times. Even before the flood, it was not a sure thing that the Gaels basketball and volleyball teams would be opening their 2009-10 Ontario University Athletic seasons in the new building.

While the athletics department would love to promote an opening day at the Queen's Centre for some of its marquee teams, the school has opted not to do so because it can't pin down an exact opening day.

The need for a new floor is a disappointment, but Dal Cin said the situation was out of the school's control.

"How do you stop a massive, torrential storm?" Dal Cin said.

The Queen's Centre will have two gymnasiums, eight squash courts, two racquetball courts, a large fitness space, a swimming pool and a food court. The first regular season home game for basketball or volleyball is Oct. 24, when the Gaels host the Guelph Gryphons in men's volleyball play.

Meanwhile, Queen's eparing for the opening of the Queen's Centre with two new staff appointments. Queen's has hired Kingston native Gord Meacher, the operations and merchandising manager at the now-closed S&R Department Store, to work as its co-ordinator, sales and service.

Also, former University of Toronto assistant facilities manager Ryan Koolen, a La Salle Secondary School grad, is coming to Queen's as the co-ordinator of facility operations.

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