Buffalo State is being visionary in its $20 million renovation of the Houston Gym, set to begin at the end
Unfortunately, the project - set to be completed during the summer of 2014 - involves an adjustment
period for everyone on campus, particularly student-athletes and coaches. The gym will be closed until
the renovation is complete.
All of the services provided in the Houston Gym, which includes the fitness center, a gym, the varsity
weight room, team locker rooms and coach's offices will be shifted to the Campus West building for the
duration of the renovation.
The project will entail a complete mechanical renovation on both floors of a building, which opened in
1960. The building has been largely untouched since and is fairly outdated as a result, which was the
motive for putting such an extensive renovation into fruition.
"We always think forward. Not just think of what our needs are today, but how they're going to change
as we move on and sometimes it's tough to put yourself in a crystal ball," said Athletic Director and head
football coach Jerry Boyes. "But that's what we've tried to do here so that they won't have to touch that
building for the next 50 years."
Everyday activities that were carried out in Houston will remain the same in Campus West - they will
just be slightly compromised.
"The services aren't going to change, it's the facility that's different and therefore the facilities in every
case - whether it be the gym, whether it be the fitness center, whether it be the varsity weight room -
is smaller," Boyes said.
There will be an adjustment period for all involved.
Coaches are moving into smaller, less appealing offices. Students on campus will have to break out of
routines they grew accustomed to in Houston Gym. The varsity weight room and fitness center also
feature far fewer free weights due to the limited space.
The relocation is being evaluated by the athletics department to determine what can be done to
replicate the features of Houston Gym best as possible. Gauging the students' feelings about the new
weight room and fitness center is one of the top priorities.
"We kind of have to assess what the students are feeling about it," Sports Information Director Jeff
Ventura said. "It was tough to conceptualize everything until we actually got in the building."
Ryan Carney, a member of both the football and basketball teams, does not find the relocation aspect a
burden - he just has to allot a few extra minutes for the slightly longer commute to Campus West.
Working out in the new weight room poses more of a problem, though. With staying fit being a
necessity for all student-athletes, conflict may arise. Picking and choosing presumed slow times in the
weight room seems to be the only solution at the moment.
"I try to find times to go (to the weight room) when there aren't people in there," Carney said. "It's hard
to work out when you have other sports' teams in there. You find yourself waiting to use equipment
more than you find yourself working out."
However, Boyes knows the best way to get through the minor inconvenience of moving is to come to
terms with it.
"As a department we're saying, 'Well, okay, it's not quite what we had but we'll adjust. We'll make it
work,' instead of going around and making a big issue out of it," Boyes said.
The finished product is what will make the transition period for the department much easier to cope
with. The new building will feature a brand new interior with new lights, heating and ventilation, air
conditioning, sports laundry and handicap accessibility.
The exterior will bring a great amount of modernization and aesthetics to the gym. A new roof will be
put in place, as well as a plethora of glass windows, new landscape of grass and trees and lighting posts.
Perhaps the biggest change, though, is a link being installed that will connect Houston Gym to the Sports
An aesthetically appealing and suitable Houston Gym should aid in recruiting a generation of young
athletes that are worried just as much about facilities as anything else. Unfortunately, it comes at the
expense of current students.
"That's part of our progress is somebody has to sacrifice - the current students we're sympathetic to
them, we understand that they're not getting quite what they would like to get," Ventura said. "When
this building is done in two years we're going to offer services to our student athletes and the general
campus that we've never offered before."
A short period of select students, coaches and administrators making minor alterations to everyday
campus life will prove extremely beneficial to the college in the long run.
"You have to have a good product, and what's going on right now just enhances the product," Boyes
said. "So for us to be sitting over (in Campus West) for two years, I have no problems whatsoever
because of what it means down the road."
Aaron Garland can be reached by email at email@example.com.