Construction on the William H. Bell Center began this fall. The construction process will be done in sections, starting with minor fixes.
“The only construction that has started is the installation of a new fire alarm system, and that should be over in October,” said Seth Asbury, associate athletics director for facilities and event management. “They are currently working on the roof. They replaced about one-third of it two summers ago and now they are replacing the final two-thirds. That should be completed this spring.”
The rest of construction will most likely begin over winter break once a contractor has been selected.
“The plan is, hopefully, by the end of October it will go out to bid to contractors and then, hopefully, we can begin construction and staging during the winter break, when students aren’t here,” Asbury said.
Construction will be done in sections.
“The first parts of the building would be the expansion out here on the plaza and also the demolition of the racquetball ball courts; the five out of seven courts,” Asbury said. “Then we’ll piece the locker room renovations by the sports.”
Some of the complaints about the Bell Center have been about the equipment.
“The variety of machines in the Bell Center is kind of lacking,” said Claire Burrus, a sophomore at Trinity. “I feel like sometimes there aren’t enough of the machines that are most popular. Like there are only two stationary bikes, and they’re always occupied and people are waiting for turns on them. Downstairs in the weight room, there are only so many weight racks, and so they’re pretty much always occupied.”
Both students and faculty agree that the renovations to the Bell Center are well needed.
“It’s a great facility; it’s just been kind of run down over the past twenty years,” Asbury said.
The renovations will address the problems with the equipment and the appearance of the Bell Center. It will also address the lack of multipurpose rooms for classes.
“We’re working on getting some brand new equipment with different technological features. There will also be a new multipurpose room there as well. So, maybe we can offer more classes like yoga, more wellness classes,” Asbury said.
The renovations to the Bell Center will also include renovations to the football stadium. Construction on the stadium will begin after the end of the football season in November and after the funds have been raised.
“They would be wiping out the home side, the west side stands, [adding] 200 seats, a new press box, a new entry gate, a new concession stand, kind of a Meadows Pavilion type building. Just really enhance the atmosphere for everyone coming to the games,” Asbury said.
Members of the Trinity community who use the Bell Center should not be worried about not being able to use the facility during construction.
“The Bell Center will remain open,” Asbury said. “That’s why we want to start with the fitness center and the performance strength room. Get those things done and operational and get the new equipment in there.”
Construction is set to end by January 2017, at the latest.
“The original plan was to be done by August 2016. That may be bumped back a few months. It just depends how construction goes. Hopefully, by January 2017 everything will be complete,” Asbury said.
With all of the excitement over the update some seniors are disappointed they won’t get to use the new features.
“I’m kind of bummed I don’t get to reap the benefits,” said Allison Gipson, a senior at Trinity.