Building a bigger and better future

By: Hannah Tetzlaff

As the old joke goes, Wisconsin has two seasons: winter and construction, which holds true at Ripon College.

Last spring, Ripon College began construction on the J.M. Storzer Athletic Center, the college’s main athletic, health and wellness facility.

According to Vice President and Dean of Students Chris Ogle, the college is expanding the facility and building new additions such as an indoor track.

“A new Field House is being added to the west of the current building,” Ogle said.  “It will house a regulation 200 meter indoor track, with tennis and basketball courts in the center of the track.  This will be a multipurpose building, designed to be used by athletics, intramurals, recreation, and the community.”

He added that the current tartan area is also being renovated into a practice basketball court on one half.  The other half will be a two story structure, with bathrooms and storage below and coaches’ offices on the second floor.  

Other improvements include upgraded locker rooms, equipment room and training room along with an entirely new front addition.

Ogle noted that students shouldn’t expect any completions yet in the fall.

As the construction continues well into the school year, students and faculty will face a few changes regarding parking, the workout room, and sports.

“There will be no student parking at Storzer this fall, and only storage parking at Storzer on the west side in the fall of 2017,” Ogle said. “The lot between Storzer and Rodman will be for employee and visitor parking only.”

Though there will be no parking available at Storzer, the college has created new lots, which may be an improvement for students.

“Parking should actually be more convenient for students this fall and beyond,” Ogle said. “We have converted the tennis courts next to the Kemper Computer Center to a new parking lot.  We’ve gained spaces in a location that is closer to the residence halls for students.”

As for sports and the workout room, the coaches have been informed on what will be available to them throughout the year, and the current workout room will still be offered this fall. After the first semester, the college will shift to the new weight room and cardio area, which will be in the front addition.

One of the more challenging developments for everyone this fall will be how to access Storzer.

“Probably this biggest change will be for everyone to enter Storzer this fall through the back of the building,” Ogle said. “Also, since coaches have temporarily moved to the second floor dance studio, some of the student functions held there will be moved elsewhere.  [However,] second semester there will be access to three studios on the new second floor area!”

Since building project won’t be completed until fall of 2017, Ogle offers a few suggestions to make the building process easier for the students and the college.

“Respond to any email updates during the fall, and be patient to realize that some disruption will be necessary to complete this large project,” he said. “[Also] keep student vehicles out of the Storzer area.”

As months go by, students may experience some of the new additions and catch a glimpse at a bigger and brighter future for the college’s main athletic facility.