Needed improvements are underway at Wagstaff Gym

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Renovation is going on at Wagstaff Gym to upgrade and expand the facilities for the future appearance and improvement of the sports complex.

“Renovation is going to include restructuring in the back and front part of the gym,” TJC Athletic Director Tim Drain said. “In the back part of the gym, the plan is to have a separate men’s wing and women’s wing on each side of the concession stand.”

This renovation, which is estimated to cost between $5-$6 million, is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 1, hopefully before the basketball season starts.

Built in 1963, this facility hosts different special events including the annual Wagstaff Holiday Tournament in December and high school basketball playoff games. Also, every fall and spring TJC graduation is held in Wagstaff Gym.

“The benefit of having a men’s wing and a women’s wing is it modernizes the men’s and women’s area,” said Mike Marquis who is the men’s basketball coach. “In the past, using the showers has been an issue because players would have to walk across to use the shower rather than the men and women having their own particular shower area.”

Particularly, the locker-rooms inside of Wagstaff Gym have been talked about in needing to be improved and upgraded with the rest of the gym.

“The locker rooms will be a great improvement,” Women’s Basketball Coach Trenia Jones said. “We have a great facility and the improvement of the locker rooms will be a upgrade to go along with the rest of the gym.”

Renovation in the front of Wagstaff Gym is going to be a busy job.

“Construction in the front of Wagstaff Gym includes adding two ticket booths, extending the Wagstaff office and adding administration offices,” Drain said.

Two sections that are not going to change are the basketball court itself and the seating capacity, which is currently 2,500.On the other hand, sold-out crowds have made their way into the gym in the past for different events like the high school playoff games, TJC conference games, and even games between rivals John Tyler and Robert E. Lee.

“There are probably more people that go into that gym than a lot of people think,” Coach Marquis said. “It is a great venue for the TJC graduation and it is great to have an annual event like the Wagstaff Holiday Tournament that TJC gets to host every year.”

Since the gym has been under construction, it has attracted much attention from fellow students and faculty. They are curious to know what is going on inside and what the outcome of renovation will be.

“When I first walked by the gym, it was very interesting to see the construction going on,” freshman Jasmine Allen said. “It makes it very curious to see what the gym is going to look like when it is finalized.”

“When people walk by the gym, it is very interesting to see what is going on with the whole process of the construction,” Coach Marquis said. “The new players that are returning next year are especially excited about the change.”

New offices will be another great addition to Wagstaff Gym for the coaches and athletic staff. Some coaches have been in the same environment for a long time and are anxious for a change.

“Getting new offices is something that is very positive to look forward to,” Coach Jones said. “I’ve been in the same office for 10 years and it will definitely be a weird change moving into a brand new office.”

On the other hand, some athletes think the change will erase things that the gym represented before the construction began.

“When they started the renovation, it felt like memories that had been created were being tore down,” Sophomore Post Jasmine King said. “They were great things that happened in Wagstaff Gym that will be remembered not only from when our team was there but also from the people that played there before us.”

All in all, everyone is hoping that the renovation will be a positive change for the whole campus.

“It will make experience better for anyone that visits the gym,” Coach Marquis said. “It will surely continue to be a great attraction to events and people in the future.”

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