Eshelmania: Newman needs new athletic facilities

By Aaron Eshelman, Staff Writer

I’m not sure who designed Newman’s main athletic building but whoever did must not have thought too hard about it.

My first complaint with O'Shaughnessy Hall is that there is no good place for fans or off-campus students to park and enter the building for games. If you wish to attend a Newman sporting event being held in Fugate Gymnasium, you have to either walk a ridiculous distance or break the rules.

The reason for this is that the parking lot closest to the gym is nowhere near the entrance intended for fans. It’s located by the doors to the training room/locker room area of O'Shaughnessy Hall—an area that is off-limits to those not participating on game days.

So you have to park and walk outside all the way to the atrium to get into the gym. Or you can park all the way on the other side of the building and walk all the way through DeMattias Hall. This is why many people, including me, on many occasions just choose to break the rules and walk in the doors to the locker room area.

Another issue is that the only way to get to the bleachers is through the doors underneath the baskets. Regardless of where you come in O'Shaughnessy Hall to get into Fugate Gymnasium, you have to walk through the doors underneath the baskets. This not only makes the gym feel like that of your local middle school but also creates issues of fans walking across the court during and after games, and entering and exiting the doors in very close proximity to the players and officials trying to do their jobs.

Another problem with O'Shaughnessy Hall is the weight room. Newman’s weight room is far too small, making it difficult for Jets sports teams to get their work done.

The space seems like the designer cared more about the cool view on the east end of the building than actually making an effective weight room.

But maybe even worse than the size of the room is the location. The weight room being on the second floor makes no sense. And I feel bad for the training staff who are located under the weight room and have to be subjected to the loud bangs that are created when people try to lift heavy objects and then put them down again.

Lastly, there are not enough offices for all of Newman’s athletic staff. If you are going to build a space created solely for athletics like O'Shaughnessy Hall, why not make it big enough to house the entire athletic department? The volleyball, basketball, and women’s soccer coaches have offices in O’Shaughnessy along with the sports information director but the rest of the athletic department is left scattered across the rest of campus in DeMattias and McNeil Halls.

Unfortunately, no one thought about these issues before the building was built and it’s very unlikely anything will be done about it now. If Newman ever does get a new gym, I sincerely hope for everyone’s benefit they plan better the second time around.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, Newman Advancement