Summers Gymnasium now boasts 104 new seats, at no cost to the college.
Around two-thirds of the money was donated from an anonymous alumnus who played basketball during his time at Bryan. The rest of the funds came from several smaller donations.
According to Rick Taphorn, vice president of finance, the college been planning to renovate the gym for two years. When he visited Roane State Community College (Harriman, Tennessee) in the fall semester, they saw its black seats and decided that was the style they wanted.
Taphorn said that, of course, these seats most benefit Bryan athletes and their fans, but they also had prospective students in mind when they were considering the renovations.
“Before, we had to take tour groups in and show them our gym, and it was just concrete, which was kind of unfortunate. Hopefully, the remodel will help change that perception,” Taphorn said.
In October, the alumnus visited to talk about the renovations. After a few hours, they went to look at the gym and decided the seats would be a great addition.
In addition to the new seating, Student Services & Ministries is installing vinyl composition tile, similar to the tile in the dorms, around the concessions area and should be done by the end of the week. The tile will mirror the lion emblem that is on the court. They are also replacing the carpet at the entrance to the building, according to Tim Hostetler, vice president of Student Services & Ministries.
The college also purchased two jumbotrons, one for use in the gym and the other to use for spare parts. Originally from the University of Missouri, Bryan bought them from a Knoxville company.
The jumbotron frame is 10 feet by 12.5 feet, which exceeds the opening in the gym doors. The department will have to make modifications in order to get it into the gym, but they are not yet sure what those modifications will be, according to Hostetler.
Installing the jumbotron may take a while, but they are hoping to have it up in time to broadcast the NCAA basketball’s National Championship Game on April 6.
In the meantime they have to make arrangements for the 1,500 pound screen to hang from the ceiling. Hostetler said he has consulted a metalworker to assess the best way to do that.
Regardless of how long it takes to get the jumbotron up, he said they would get a big screen TV in there for the championship game.
“Really, our hope with all of the renovations is that they would be an improvement for students,” Hostetler said. “To me, it’s a success as long as we accomplish that at some level.”