Before and current photos of the facility.
Before and current photos of the facility.
TUCSON ?- With the 2007 season in the past, the University of Arizona gymnastics program has begun preparations for a run at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga. With coaches hitting the recruiting trail hard, the UA gymnasts are working hard as well, whether it’s in the classroom for summer school or in the gym partaking in voluntary off-season training. But perhaps the significant off-season development for the UA gymnastics program is the on-going renovations to the Mary Roby Gymnastics Training Center, which began last month.
The Mary Roby Gymnastics Training Center has been home to UA gymnastics practices for the past 13 seasons, after construction on the facility completed in the fall of 1994. For over a decade, it has been one of the finest training facilities in the country, but because of the advancement of skills and year-round training in the sport, the facility is ready to undergo a much deserved face-lift.
“This is a very exciting time for our program,” head coach Bill Ryden says. “This will be one of the finest gymnastics facilities in the country. I am very appreciative of the fact that our university is going forward with this project. It means a great deal to me and our program”
As part of Campaign Arizona Phase II, a $20 million project which targets renovations and constructions of several athletic facilities on campus, the gymnastics training facility will be expanded to approximately 10,000 square feet. Every training station in the facility will be upgraded from its previous state. The added space will allow for a lengthened vault runway, additional bars and beam stations, and more pits. Additionally, the locker room and taping room inside the facility will be remodeled.
“We are a teaching program here at Arizona, which I think distinguishes us from many other programs around the country,” Ryden explained. “We teach very difficult skills here and develop our athletes so that they get better throughout their collegiate careers.”
“The renovations to our training facility will allow us as coaches to teach to the best of our abilities,” Ryden added. “The facility will be very ergonomic for quality coaching. We will be able to teach every progression for high level skills. It will be very beneficial for our athletes.”
The renovations are expected to be competed by Dec. 1, 2007. For the time being, the gymnasts are utilizing the local gym which is home to Tumbleweeds Gymnastics. The team hopes to continue to use the facility once official practice begins in the fall, before moving back to their home on campus upon completion of their facility.
The facility is located directly east ?- a 30-second walk ?- from the McKale Memorial Center, home to UA gymnastics meets as well as the offices for coaches, locker rooms for student-athletes, and athletic department administration and personnel.
The expansion is the latest in several improvements to facilities utilized by the gymnastics program in the last decade, the most significant being the opening of the Eddie Lynch Athletics Pavilion on the north end of McKale for the 2002-2003 academic year. Included was the 19,000 square foot, state of the art Bill Estes Jr. Family Strength and Conditioning Center, which provides gymnasts and all athletes the opportunity to maximize their athletic potential. In addition, the Michael Kasser Family Medical Treatment Center was built, totaling 5,300 usable square feet, and includes an underwater treadmill, X-Ray examination room, as well as other rooms and equipment designed to prevent and treat injuries.
In the summer and fall of 2002, the entire women’s locker room complex received a complete overhaul. A project that amounted to approximately $1.3 million, the renovation added 7,500 square feet to the existing women’s locker room area. With the addition, each sport program now has its own separate locker area, while softball, women’s basketball, volleyball and track and field each have their own private lounge and shower areas. There are two shared lounge spaces, one with a big-screen television and new furniture and the other set up to serve as a study area.