$2.1 million gym renovations invite SF State athletics into the 21st century

Standing at the free-throw line of the basketball court, Don Nasser, the primary funder for renovations to the gym and a University alumnus, could not quite make the shot. President Leslie E. Wong then stepped up, but the ball only bounced off the rim.

Finally, new athletic director Charles Guthrie went for a lay-up shot and made it. Cheers from athletes, faculty and alumni exploded from the renovated gym at its grand opening Thursday.

Photo by Michael Duran, Produced by Will Carruthers.
President Leslie Wong cuts a ribbon at the opening ceremony for the renovated gymnasium.

The crowd gathered for the unveiling of the updated gym Sept. 11, which recently underwent a $2.1 million makeover and features a new basketball court floor with a centered picture of the fierce new mascot. Freshly painted facilities adorned with the school’s purple and yellow colors have replaced faded wood and rusted metal.

“Last year, I was embarrassed,” Wong said of his experience at a job fair hosted in the gymnasium. “The gym was decrepit. Future employers were interviewing students in a very old facility.”

The previous gym floor and lockers dated back to 1951 when the building first opened, according to Wong, who expressed concern over hazards like exposed nails on the floor.

Photo by Michael Duran, Produced by Will Carruthers.
SF State athletes try out the new court.

“Now it looks like a Division II gym court should look,” said volunteer wrestling coach Zach Jimenez, an SF State alumnus.

Beyond the aesthetic facelift, the gym has also been updated to meet modern needs with features like unisex bathrooms. Each locker room has three showers that are compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the bleachers also have seats fit to the code, according to campus planner Wendy Bloom.

“We’re spending tremendous energy in being the best Division II university in the country,” said Vice President of University Advancement Robert Nava.

For Wong, the updated gym represents his commitment to make SF State a more sports-oriented university.

“We’re getting our swagger back,” Wong said. “I’m going to be shamelessly selfish here, but I think everyone in this city should be a Gator fan.”

Photo by Thomas De Alba, Produced by Will Carruthers.
A view from inside the new locker room.