There is an abundance of excitement for the Fall 2021 semester, as Washington Adventist University (WAU) prepares for the return of its students to campus. Much anticipation for the upcoming school year has prompted many departments to introduce new programs and activities for students to enjoy and refurbish or restore both old and new spaces for productive learning experiences. Among those efforts is WAU’s Athletics Department, which has recently initiated the first step in a three-phase renovation process for WAU Gym.
Since 1955, the WAU Gym is home to some of WAU’s finest—the Men’s Basketball team, Women’s Basketball and Volleyball team, and Acro-Airs. Our student-athletes exemplify the meaning of Shock Pride and providing them with a space to excel and grow in their talents only enhances the strength of that pride. “The student-athletes here at WAU are very talented where they excel not only in just their respective playing fields but other fields as well,” said Jered Lyons, Interim Athletics Director. “We like to say it’s a worker’s university where you have to have that pride, want to excel, and work hard.” Being that there have not been any major renovations in the WAU Gym since 2008, this renovation project is means a lot to the continued success of the Athletics Department.
In conjunction with WAU’s administration and facilities team, the WAU gym has completed the first phase of the renovation project. The old bleachers have been removed and the gym floor has been carefully sanded down to its original wood, which should last up to a century before needing to be renewed. With the sanding finished, a new floor design was put in place and the original floor lines for other discontinued sports have been cleaned up. The National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) logo has also been added to the gym.
Another project that the Athletics Department is looking forward to is a club that is currently being put together for the WAU Athletics alumni. It will be a platform for alumni to connect with current student-athletes to network and share their experiences at WAU and after graduation as well as provide opportunities to give back. There also are other long-term plans for improvement, including repainting the gym, purchasing a new scoreboard and game table, and looking into an air conditioning system for the gym.
The next steps for the gym renovation are already in place to be completed this Fall. The second phase will include updating the baskets in the gym, to hang from the ceiling giving more floor space for the student-athletes to work with. The third phase will replace the bleachers that were removed with new bleachers donated by the Class of 2021 as their gift back to the university. From the project’s jumpstart by the former Athletics Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Patrick Crarey, and the support from the WAU administration, facilities, and the Class of 2021, the Athletics Department is excited and determined to be able to see this vision through.