May 31, 2019
New bleachers in Jack Simpson Gymnasium unveiled for convocation
The Faculty of Kinesiology is unveiling a brand new look in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium during convocation next week.
Built in 1987, the original bleachers have been replaced, due to age and wear. The project presented some unique challenges, due to the tight timeframe between the end of varsity activity in March and convocation in early June. Construction on the project finished a few days early which allowed the university to re-finish and complete floor repairs. The floor maintenance was originally anticipated to be completed after convocation activities, which would have kept the gym closed for another two weeks.
Inspired by Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, the project team chose a modern, pixelated approach for the bleacher design. The invigorated look is true to varsity colours, featuring Dinos red and gold. “The new bleachers have brought added vibrancy to the facility,” says Jo-Ann Billinglsey, manager facility scheduling, Faculty of Kinesiology. “There are several key features that help us to serve gym users better, including more comfortable seats, better accessibility, and added playing space, making the court safer for our athletes.”
New handrails and an option to remove the lowest row for wheelchairs ensure that the breadth of the campus community can access and enjoy the upgraded gymnasium.
Another key feature is the addition of media tables within the bleacher system that will create the opportunity to better promote the Dinos varsity sporting events held in the gym.
Dinos athletics director, Jason Kerswill, notes, “The new bleachers provide the Jack Simpson gymnasium with a great facelift that will absolutely enhance the fan experience. With Dinos games being hosted almost every weekend between October and March, our student body, alumni, donors and fans will now enjoy some of the best sport the city has to offer in a vibrant and welcoming venue.”
The new system will also allow for quicker set-up and conversions between Dinos games, practices and active living programming ensuring that the already busy facility is fully utilized as a result of reduced down time.
Collaboration between the Faculty of Kinesiology, the Facilities' Project Management Office, and Canadian manufacturer Royal Stewart ensured that scheduled activity within the facility could continue while the work was completed. Kinesiology is a busy hub within the university throughout the year, serving a large community of students, sport performance and health and wellness researchers, and recreational program participants.
“The challenge was to find a window of opportunity in which to complete the project. The risk of impact to university activities was high,” says project co-ordinator Kathryn Campbell. “Moving convocation offsite was an early consideration, but it was important to the team to maintain tradition for graduates and we were ultimately able to find efficiencies in our process and finish the job within an 11-week timeframe.” The project team made choices that helped complete this logistically challenging project with as little impact to the surrounding ongoing facility programs and users as possible.
As the campus community looks forward to celebrating the university’s newest grads next week and cheering on the Dinos during the upcoming 2019-2020 athletic season, they can do so knowing that the Jack Simpson gym is ready to host them, as it has for the past 32 years, but now with added style and comfort.
Congratulations to the University of Calgary’s graduating class of 2019.