WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Whitman College’s 18-month, $15 million project to remodel and renovate the Sherwood Athletic Center is well into the demolition stage and especially visible from Park Street where steps that once led to the courtyard have been reduced to rubble and removed.

The building is surrounded by construction fences and access to the facility is limited, said Peter Harvey, Whitman treasurer and chief financial officer, and will stay that way until it opens in fall of 2009. After the current demolition stage, the next step will be to remove the roof over the staff and faculty offices and rebuild the mainframe in that area so that by August the volleyball and basketball teams will have full access to the gymnasium, and the rest of the remodeling can continue around them.

The project is on schedule, said Dan Park, director of the physical plant. “We’re very aware of the critical Aug. 15 deadline so volleyball and basketball can proceed. And we will make that deadline.”

The renovation of the 1960s-era center is phase two of Whitman’s athletic facilities upgrade, said Dean Snider, director of athletics, adding that the upgrade is one example of how the college is working to enhance the competitive capabilities of Whitman athletes with a serious approach to excellence in athletics. “The Baker Ferguson Fitness Center addressed the fitness center and aquatic needs of the college. The Sherwood renovation will provide needed gymnasium and court facilities and multipurpose space, training room space and office space.”

A much-needed second gymnasium will be created by taking the roof off the swimming pool and replacing a structural wall with a beam before filling in the pool, added Harvey. “This will allow us to create a new multipurpose gymnasium, full size but without bleachers.” The new space will be striped for high school and college basketball and volleyball, added Harvey, and also will be available for such activities as indoor soccer and indoor batting practice, and will make hosting various tournaments possible.

In addition, he said, the locker space, which was built when the college had a football team and very few women’s sports, will be rebuilt to reflect the current athletic needs; the training room area will be enlarged to meet current needs; two more multipurpose rooms for aerobics, dance, and Tae Kwon Do-style activities will be added; a team audiovisual room will be created; and office space will be expanded, both in size and number.

There will be many more additions and enhancements, said Harvey, including a new, clearly visible office entrance, with an atrium, an area for athletic memorabilia, and an elevator to provide ADA access.

The most dramatic changes to the casual observer will the enclosure of the climbing wall, the addition of new larger windows and the brick over of the outside walls. Enclosing the climbing wall, said Harvey, makes it available to climbers year round. The bricks over the outside walls will add insulation and make the building fit aesthetically with the rest of the buildings on campus. And of course, numerous trees will be planted, and the trees temporarily moved to Cordiner lawn will be transplanted back to the Sherwood area.

Opp and Siebold, the company that oversaw the building of BFFC, is also overseeing the work on Sherwood.

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CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
parishlj@whitman.edu