The 40-year-old venue: Much needed PAC renovation finally in the works

Jerry McCartney

The university is about to embark on its second $16 million building project in the past three years with the renovations to the Physical Activities Center scheduled to take place in late 2015.

This is the first big renovation to the PAC since its doors opened in 1980.

The Board of Trustees approved the construction Nov. 6, and hope to expand the facility along with the renovations.

The building is well over due for a remodeling plan after being used for the sport management, kinesiology and athletic departments.

The PAC also offers what resembles a makeshift training facility for student athletes.

The main floor consists of the gymnasium, which only seats 2,278, locker rooms, a training room that fits only a small number of athletes at a time and a weight lifting room that is in worse shape than the training facility at the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center.

On the second floor, the lofted area over the west side of the basketball court is used by baseball, softball and track and field for training purposes during the off season.

The area also doubles as a classroom during times when there is insufficient space. The lofted area has a sponge like floor, which is yellow now, and it’s an extremely tight squeeze for any training matters.

Athletic offices are also on the second floor, along with two main classrooms and a computer lab for the sport management and kinesiology departments.

This much needed construction project was funded by the 2013 Indiana General Assembly.

The biology and art departments are also being renovated. But it’s nice to see that the athletic facilities are getting some light shed on them as well.

The floor plans for the renovations have not been set in stone, but student athletes should be looking forward to a major upgrade in their training facility over the next five years.

The PAC was built in the 1980’s, but anyone who has been inside any building at USI can testify that the PAC is the only one that looks like it was built in the 1970’s.

With better training facilities, the university has more campus appeal, which will allow future student athletes to make their commitment decision much easier. The new and improved training facility will attract better talent and a larger student fan base.

These improvements are exactly what USI needs and it is great to see that trustees are doing what is necessary to make things happen.