New Gym, Same Problems
By Franchesca Carrera
Simpson Rising has been the motto for SU in the past year and a half as many changes have taken place.
In the summer of 2019, the Simpson University Grant Center received a large makeover which included the resurfacing of the floor and the addition of two brand new scoreboards. According to an article on the athletics website, this is the fourth major project in the last two years for the facilities within the Grant Center.
The renovations to the gym have given fans and players a new experience as one of the scoreboards also has an LED videoboard.
In previous years, the athletics department shot videos for the teams, but they typically went unused. However, with the addition of the board, the videos are now put on the screen, allowing the players a sense of pride at being able to see their names and faces in lights, literally.
For the six sports that utilize the gym while in season, the upgrades have been a welcome change.
“When the gym was being renovated, I felt like we were a priority,” said women’s basketball senior, Alli Ramelli. “The gym gets used for a lot of different things and a lot of professors don’t like us athletes, so it made us feel like the school actually cared about athletics.”
But while some teams are enjoying the change to their home others are left wondering where the support for their much-needed upgrades is going to come from.
Sports such as soccer, baseball, swimming, and track and field are without equipment that allows them to compete hassle-free.
Swimming and track and field can’t even practice, let alone compete, on the SU campus as there are no facilities to accommodate them. Soccer and baseball, on the other hand, have the facilities, but they desperately need fixtures to be added.
Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Milton Carrera, explained they aren’t asking for much. “To be honest if [the school] were to fix the practice field, that would be a lot better,” Carrera said. “Lights would make a difference, but then again, the field needs to be addressed.”
The needs of the soccer teams are just some of the few things that require the attention of the school.
Just above the soccer field is the beginnings of the baseball field, a project that after years of coaches asking, is finally being built.
However, it is going to take time and money before the field is ready to go.
Head Baseball Coach, Dan Tating, listed what is still needed before the field can be used for a game. “Outfield fence, backstop, dugouts, and a bullpen would be what we need just to be able to play,” said Tating. He’s also willing to work with the school, explaining that while there needs to be stands at the field, the soccer ones will do just fine and will save money.
In the meantime, SU has been using Tiger Field, which is about 15 minutes from campus, and comes with a plethora of problems of its own. The biggest problem being it turns away potential players because they don’t get to play on campus and Tiger field is known for the homeless and drug issues.
A common theme among coaches with requests was the need for a locker room next to the soccer and baseball fields. Carrera mentioned that opposing teams come here to play and don’t have anywhere to change, other than the basketball and volleyball locker rooms, which are located on the other side of campus.
Others have voiced the need for a smaller facility like the gym, to host events such as chapel, awards, and symposiums. This facility could also help with scheduling conflicts between the teams when it comes to holding practices on a daily basis.
Having a brand new LED board and flooring is wonderful for the teams that use it, but for those that are still trying to find a place on this campus and money to use, it can be seen as the athletic department pushing them to the side.