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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Bear Down Gym preps for Wednesday re-opening

Jordin+OConnor+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ARecently+renovated+Bear+Down+Gym+showcases+several+different+departments.
Jordin O’Connor
Jordin O’Connor / Arizona Daily Wildcat Recently renovated Bear Down Gym showcases several different departments.

In an effort to accommodate departments displaced by the Old Main renovation, Bear Down Gymnasium is swapping its court for carpet and cubicles. The building that served as the men’s gym 86 years ago now houses the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the College of Letters, Arts and Science Academic Advising Center and the Think Tank.

Over the summer the gym underwent a minor transformation. While newly laid carpet and a number of cubicle walls occupy the court, the highest bleacher rows are still visible above tutoring rooms, and championship banners still hang from the metal rafters.

“Bear Down gym is a very special place … it has a lot of history, and I think people appreciate the fact that it used to be a gym,” said Victor Mercado, assistant director of the Think Tank. “I think the place has a lot of character the way that it is right now.”

The gym was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and some of that history was preserved through the renovations. Leticia Soto–Delgadillo, director of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science Academic Advising Center, said that if you lift the carpet you can still see the gym floor. The remaining bleachers, brick walls and metal bars on the ceiling also reflect an attempt to preserve the building’s history.

The Academic Advising Center and Office of Undergraduate Admissions were in Old Main and had to be moved in order for that building’s renovations. The Dean of Students Office was also in Old Main and was moved to the Nugent building, taking the Think Tank’s previous location.

Soto–Delgadillo said being in the same building as the Think Tank is convenient for her and her students. She used to occasionally walk her students from Old Main to Nugent to show them where the tutoring offices were. Being in the same building makes it faster and easier for her students to go straight from advising to tutoring if they need to.

“The neat thing about being in the building together is that we can really collaborate more,” she said.

Mercado said their numbers have remained similar to last year’s, meaning students don’t seem to have a problem finding the tutoring office. Anyone who goes to the Nugent building is directed to their new location, Mercado said, adding that he feels good about the quality of the renovation.

“That building [Nugent] initially was not made for tutoring,” Mercado said. “So this is much better.”

Students also like the renovations and sometimes just go to the gym to read or do schoolwork in the lobby, according to Soto–Delgadillo. Nidhisha Patel, a physiology junior and transfer student in her first semester at the UA, said she’s visited the Think Tank almost every day since the semester started.

“I always come in here even if I’m not using Think Tank because it’s cooler in here than outside,” Patel said. “It’s pretty neat.”

Sarah Welsch, a senior studying international studies, economics and psychology, said it’s weird to have advising in the old gym and said she didn’t think the gym could have looked the way it does now.

“I figured they might as well use the space if they’re not using it for anything else,” Welsch said.
The gym will be having a grand re-opening on Wednesday where students will get a tour of the new place and become familiar with the departments there.

“One of our big pushes for the open house is to just get the word out to the academic community and the university community that we have moved,” Mercado said.

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