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Basketball practice facility (and more) coming


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Despite the diligent work of the ABJ's Zips reporter, here's another one that apparently slipped through his fingers:  Crain's Cleveland Business reports today that UA is investing more than $4 million in a new basketball practice facility and other facility enhancements.

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Hilltopper said:

The cost of the basketball practice facility is just over $1 million. The biggest costs are the Floor and a new HVAC system to keep the floor from buckling. 

Do you know if this being built south of Exchange or somewhere else near campus?

Edited by RowdyZip
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2 minutes ago, RowdyZip said:

 

Do you know if this being built south of Exchange or somewhere else near campus?

 

I get the sense from the article that they are refurbishing space that already have, not building something new.

 

From the article-

 

"The court will be a space in Stile Athletics Field House, which was made for student recreation but has been used sparingly."

 

"The space will receive a new floor, state-of-the-art baskets and other systems along with decorations at a cost of approximately $1 million. It is expected to be finished in fall of 2022."

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If you walk through the student rec center, there are 3 regular courts students play on, and then two additional "blue courts" next to those used for intramurals and what not (at least in my time there). Significant enrollment drops seems like those aren't really used anymore and now that piece of the center is going to be turned into the practice facility. that's my interpretation anyways.

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1 hour ago, LZIp said:

If you walk through the student rec center, there are 3 regular courts students play on, and then two additional "blue courts" next to those used for intramurals and what not (at least in my time there). Significant enrollment drops seems like those aren't really used anymore and now that piece of the center is going to be turned into the practice facility. that's my interpretation anyways.

This is correct.

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I was part of the original staff that opened the rec center back in 2004 - 2007. 

During my time there the auxiliary gym did not get much traffic however it was used for many Table Events. 

The rubber surface in there was not popular but at times the aux served its purpose when other activities like badminton was  set  up in the main gym. 

I see them knocking down the outer wall to either extend or create a private entrance. 

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Here is the link from Crain's Cleveland Business 

University of Akron plans $4.7 million in upgrades to athletic facilities (300 words) by Joe Scalzo

 

From the article, I like this: 

"Our primary goal with these capital projects, and in all that we do, is to live by our motto 'Blue Collar. Gold Standard,' " Guthrie said.

 

 

From George's article, I like this:

 

Guthrie prefers to keep an arena on campus so the athletics department can maintain control of scheduling and not have to deal with potential conflicts among other things. He also said he believes the JAR can be upgraded. “My focus is really going to be on how we really enhance the JAR and make it a really upgraded facility and match today’s expectations from fans,” Guthrie said.

 

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1 hour ago, Dr Z said:

Guthrie prefers to keep an arena on campus so the athletics department can maintain control of scheduling and not have to deal with potential conflicts among other things. He also said he believes the JAR can be upgraded. “My focus is really going to be on how we really enhance the JAR and make it a really upgraded facility and match today’s expectations from fans,” Guthrie said.

 

That's what I didn't like.  Might there be an ever-so-occassional scheduling conflict?  Yes. Maaaaaybe. But that would be a good thing - it would mean there are multiple events to enhance the Akron-area's quality of life & draw people/students downtown.  Anyway, the U would get first priority.  The benefits to both downtown as well as the men's basketball program far outweigh any 20-minutes of additional paperwork/phone calls which may be required for the occasional scheduling inconvenience.

 

Does either the DNC or GOP want to hold their National Convention in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Does U2 want to play their farewell concert in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Okay, the Zips can play in the JAR on those rare occasions.  NOT A BIG DEAL.

 

If arenas can schedule cooperative dates around an NBA schedule, there's no reason an arena (perhaps University-run arena) couldn't schedule around a much shorter and more sparse college basketball schedule.

 

Not only does the JAR suck - and the JAR does suck - but it's not easy to get to - you really have to go out of your way to get to the Zips' games. You drive to the Carroll Street parking deck, walk to the game, walk back to the parking deck & drive home. No auxiliary economic benefit to downtown.  The JAR makes it awfully tempting to just stay home & watch games on ESPN+.  I want Zips games to be an event - go out to eat before the game, walk to the game, grab desert or a drink after the game.  Not that you absolutely cannot do that with the JAR, but the JAR does nothing to facilitate the night out, let alone enhance the experience of the evening.

 

I want the U to be the cultural center of the city.  Cleveland knew what they were doing when they finagled getting the Richfield Coliseum shuttered and built Gateway for the Cavs.  We in Akron need to be at least as savvy as Cleveland - even more so, frankly. 

 

There is more parking on Main Street. There are bars & restaurants for before and after games within walking distance on Main Street (maybe even get a Metro bus to taxi ppl north & south on Main Street on the nights of games?).  Canal Park draws a lot of ppl downtown in the summer months, but boy is it quiet down there from November-thru-April.  Zips basketball could certainly give the downtown establishments a boost during those slow months. Along with concerts, etc. etc.

 

With all the new housing going in downtown, we could get a lot of ppl who decide on a whim to go to a Zips game.  You don't get that at the JAR.

 

A new arena would certainly have to be a collaborative effort between the U, the city, and Summit County as well as local businesses.  But it's strange that a city the size of Akron doesn't already have a downtown arena to begin with.

 

Eh, I'm rambling.  I just get going when the city & U don't seem to work together when it's an absolutely vital symbiotic relationship.

 

I'll just end with reiterating that Cleveland knew what they were doing when they (cough, screwed Summit County) and finagled to have the perfectly fine Richfield Coliseum shuttered in order to bring the Cavs to their downtown.  

Edited by Blue & Gold
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21 hours ago, LZIp said:

If you walk through the student rec center, there are 3 regular courts students play on, and then two additional "blue courts" next to those used for intramurals and what not (at least in my time there). Significant enrollment drops seems like those aren't really used anymore and now that piece of the center is going to be turned into the practice facility. that's my interpretation anyways.

Once covid started in order to keep distance, they moved a lot of the workout equipment into both blue courts. They finally moved some of the equipment so one of the blue courts could be used for futsal and other things. But according to rec employees, they don’t even know how to move all the equipment back because it already seems too congested now. If I were to guess on where in the Fieldhouse/rec they would build this, I think the indoor golf training room might be used as a part of the new facility

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20 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

That's what I didn't like.  Might there be an ever-so-occassional scheduling conflict?  Yes. Maaaaaybe. But that would be a good thing - it would mean there are multiple events to enhance the Akron-area's quality of life & draw people/students downtown.  Anyway, the U would get first priority.  The benefits to both downtown as well as the men's basketball program far outweigh any 20-minutes of additional paperwork/phone calls which may be required for the occasional scheduling inconvenience.

 

Does either the DNC or GOP want to hold their National Convention in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Does U2 want to play their farewell concert in Akron on a date which conflicts with a Zips basketball game?  Okay, the Zips can play in the JAR on those rare occasions.  NOT A BIG DEAL.

 

If arenas can schedule cooperative dates around an NBA schedule, there's no reason an arena (perhaps University-run arena) couldn't schedule around a much shorter and more sparse college basketball schedule.

 

Not only does the JAR suck - and the JAR does suck - but it's not easy to get to - you really have to go out of your way to get to the Zips' games. You drive to the Carroll Street parking deck, walk to the game, walk back to the parking deck & drive home. No auxiliary economic benefit to downtown.  The JAR makes it awfully tempting to just stay home & watch games on ESPN+.  I want Zips games to be an event - go out to eat before the game, walk to the game, grab desert or a drink after the game.  Not that you absolutely cannot do that with the JAR, but the JAR does nothing to facilitate the night out, let alone enhance the experience of the evening.

 

I want the U to be the cultural center of the city.  Cleveland knew what they were doing when they finagled getting the Richfield Coliseum shuttered and built Gateway for the Cavs.  We in Akron need to be at least as savvy as Cleveland - even more so, frankly. 

 

There is more parking on Main Street. There are bars & restaurants for before and after games within walking distance on Main Street (maybe even get a Metro bus to taxi ppl north & south on Main Street on the nights of games?).  Canal Park draws a lot of ppl downtown in the summer months, but boy is it quiet down there from November-thru-April.  Zips basketball could certainly give the downtown establishments a boost during those slow months. Along with concerts, etc. etc.

 

With all the new housing going in downtown, we could get a lot of ppl who decide on a whim to go to a Zips game.  You don't get that at the JAR.

 

A new arena would certainly have to be a collaborative effort between the U, the city, and Summit County as well as local businesses.  But it's strange that a city the size of Akron doesn't already have a downtown arena to begin with.

 

Eh, I'm rambling.  I just get going when the city & U don't seem to work together when it's an absolutely vital symbiotic relationship.

 

I'll just end with reiterating that Cleveland knew what they were doing when they (cough, screwed Summit County) and finagled to have the perfectly fine Richfield Coliseum shuttered in order to bring the Cavs to their downtown.  

 

I'd love to see a decent arena on the edge of campus, downtown.  Like you said, we're not going to get the world's premier events but there's no reason mom and dad can't spend a Saturday afternoon in Akron watching the Harlem Globetrotters or some travelling circus.  Oddly, Canton has a functional arena.  It's absolutely nothing special and a little outdated but it serves the purpose.  I actually like the Civic Center for basketball (much more than the JAR). 

 

The other problem with revamping the JAR is the limited time available to do it.  They'd have from roughly early March to mid-November.  That's a relatively short time span for substantial improvements.  I would volunteer to be the guy that takes down the silly glass wall/rail!

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18 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

 

I'd love to see a decent arena on the edge of campus, downtown.  Like you said, we're not going to get the world's premier events but there's no reason mom and dad can't spend a Saturday afternoon in Akron watching the Harlem Globetrotters or some travelling circus.  Oddly, Canton has a functional arena.  It's absolutely nothing special and a little outdated but it serves the purpose.  I actually like the Civic Center for basketball (much more than the JAR). 

 

The other problem with revamping the JAR is the limited time available to do it.  They'd have from roughly early March to mid-November.  That's a relatively short time span for substantial improvements.  I would volunteer to be the guy that takes down the silly glass wall/rail!

As do I.  It feels like an arena.  The JAR is an arena in name only.  Everyone knows it feels like a glorified high school gym.

The Civic Center is rather dated, but it's better than anything we have.

And if Youngstown can have the Covelli Center...

 

We need to get our act together.

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9 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

As do I.  It feels like an arena.  The JAR is an arena in name only.  Everyone knows it feels like a glorified high school gym.

The Civic Center is rather dated, but it's better than anything we have.

And if Youngstown can have the Covelli Center...

 

We need to get our act together.

 

The key is engaging the Summit County voter/taxpayer, something that didn't happen in 2014.

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41 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

 

The key is engaging the Summit County voter/taxpayer, something that didn't happen in 2014.

And there were other benefits tied to it + KD was here and we were having success. If not then, when?

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1 minute ago, LZIp said:

And there were other benefits tied to it + KD was here and we were having success. If not then, when?

Exactly.  I don't think this ever gets done outside of UA going it alone.  Too much of Summit County ties UA to the old Hilltop High moniker and certainly doesn't take it seriously as a division 1 athletic institution.  If it comes down to no arena or new arena plus even a tiny tax, voters will choose no arena.

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2 hours ago, Reslife4Life said:

Once covid started in order to keep distance, they moved a lot of the workout equipment into both blue courts. They finally moved some of the equipment so one of the blue courts could be used for futsal and other things. But according to rec employees, they don’t even know how to move all the equipment back because it already seems too congested now. If I were to guess on where in the Fieldhouse/rec they would build this, I think the indoor golf training room might be used as a part of the new facility

Yes, I really hope they wouldn't take those blue courts away from the students. Those courts were frequently used for intramural futsal, floor hockey, whiffed ball, and even open gym basketball. 

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Before the baseball team came back I felt the perfect place for a new arena was building it where the current baseball field is. That would get you on exchange street so you would be in easy walking distance to bars and restaurants. Not to mention lot 9 parking and the Exchange parking decks right there. Personally, I'm not a big fan of a downtown arena unless the city/county is chipping in. Being in the middle of campus makes it more convenient for students to attend.

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21 minutes ago, kreed5120 said:

Before the baseball team came back I felt the perfect place for a new arena was building it where the current baseball field is. That would get you on exchange street so you would be in easy walking distance to bars and restaurants. Not to mention lot 9 parking and the Exchange parking decks right there. Personally, I'm not a big fan of a downtown arena unless the city/county is chipping in. Being in the middle of campus makes it more convenient for students to attend.

I agree that anywhere on Exchange would have been great, as well.

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I would like to see a new Arena Downtown. 

With the ongoing overall decline of Akron  in regards to the downtown economy and population I would also like to see UA grow and expand more downtown. 

For example, I lived in Richmond Virginia in the mid to late 90's. At that time the city was on a decline. Since then VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) which was originally a small commuter school has rapidly expanded and took over downtown Richmond. I believe UA can rebound and do the same. 

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On 2/4/2022 at 2:05 PM, Blue & Gold said:

I agree that anywhere on Exchange would have been great, as well.

 

On 2/4/2022 at 1:43 PM, kreed5120 said:

Before the baseball team came back I felt the perfect place for a new arena was building it where the current baseball field is. That would get you on exchange street so you would be in easy walking distance to bars and restaurants. Not to mention lot 9 parking and the Exchange parking decks right there. Personally, I'm not a big fan of a downtown arena unless the city/county is chipping in. Being in the middle of campus makes it more convenient for students to attend.

 

It's been a while since I've been on campus, but could the area south of Exchange between Kling and Brown work? I know the tennis courts were relocated to the area and Manny's is a popular spot. But what else is there? Judging by Google Maps it looks like just the Kinkos and a handful of houses surrounded by empty grass. Unless UA has other plans for the area that I'm not aware of, having an arena across from InfoCision would be pretty cool and probably easier for everyone to get to. 

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9 hours ago, dre22era said:

I would like to see a new Arena Downtown. 

With the ongoing overall decline of Akron  in regards to the downtown economy and population I would also like to see UA grow and expand more downtown. 

For example, I lived in Richmond Virginia in the mid to late 90's. At that time the city was on a decline. Since then VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) which was originally a small commuter school has rapidly expanded and took over downtown Richmond. I believe UA can rebound and do the same. 

If they ever finally finish reconstruction on Main Street and get a decent number of people living there your idea might have a chance.

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