The new Connolly Center renovations were completed early this quarter.
In a city always looking to change, Seattle University has taken the same innovative approach to their campus. This approach has taken on many forms over the past few years and will continue in the future with new proposed buildings, but right now the focus is on the Connolly Center Complex.
The current renovations to the Connolly Center are a part of a gender equity plan that was agreed to in 2011. It went hand in hand with the school’s decision to become a Division I athletic program. It helps address Title IX requirements that discuss “enhancing the student-athlete and spectator experience,” as well as providing facilities that are of similar caliber for both men’s and women’s athletics. The required renovations came after athletics moved back into Division I in an effort to meet all of the Title IX requirements.
This is an honorable addition to the school, but the project that was advertised as being finished in fall 2015 is still in the works. It has been about a year since construction started, leaving students unable to use about half of the fitness center.
“The construction has been a bit of an inconvenience. It’s also an eyesore,” said junior Charles MacIsaac. “It’s funny that after overspending our budget this past fiscal year, the school wants to spend more money [on] something like the gym. The allocation of funds seems misguided.”
Many students share this sentiment that Seattle U places too much of an emphasis on their sports teams and facilities when the academic side of the university could use the funds, however the renovations are actually a Title IX mandate.
“While I appreciate the new locker rooms, not being able to shower and swim every week for the majority of the year made the renovations a stressful process,” said sophomore Genevieve Jesse.
The Spectator reached out to Eric Guerra, the assistant athletics director, for comment on the delay in the project, but no response was received before publication.
The Spectator reported in September that the facility would be open for use in mid-December, but that isn’t the case. The new facility was set to cost $8 million.
In addition, the new facility might not be utilized to its fullest extent. While women’s basketball will return to playing their home games at Connolly Center next season, the men’s team will still be playing their games in Key Arena.
Meant for an NBA sized crowd, Key Arena looks empty at most home games and the trek to downtown from the Seattle U campus discourages many students from attending games. The new center represents a good opportunity to get the students more involved with in the sports after putting so much effort into making them relevant.
The renovations will go a long way in advancing the credibility of Seattle U’s athletics, and despite the cries of many students, there is simply no other alternative but to renovate the facilities.
Willy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.