Late start on Gym renovation hinders original end goal


Efrain Valdez / The Advocate

A construction worker locks the fence surrounding the Gymnasium for renovations.

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

Over the winter break, the starting date for the Gymnasium renovations for the upcoming construction project was pushed until after the basketball season.

Even though the Gymnasium project did not have a targeted starting date to begin with, most involved were aiming for the winter break period.

However, the construction company only began work on the Tennis Courts and around the outside of the Gymnasium, which allowed both the men’s and women’s teams to play their home games on campus rather than the Richmond Auditorium.

Both teams had arranged locations to practice during the Gymnasium closure.

Athletic Director John Wade said that these kind of things happen during projects like this one. “We have a meeting with the construction guys on Wednesday (today after press time) and we should have an update,” he said.

“I’m hoping we can start soon,” Wade said.

The athletic department had been preparing for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams to play their current season’s games in the Richmond Auditorium.

With the last minute change of plans, both coaches were happy that they could practice on campus but would have liked to play in a facility like the auditorium.

Wade said that he would have enjoyed watching the teams play in a big, nice facility like the Richmond Auditorium.

“It is easier playing at home; you are familiar with the baskets, court and the fans,” men’s basketball coach Miguel Johnson said.

One of the few inconveniences that the coaches and players can face at times is having to take a longer walk to get to the locker rooms.

Women’s basketball coach Vincent Shaw said that depending where the construction work is being done on a certain day it will dictate if his team has to take a longer walk to get to the locker room.

“It’s all about the whole picture. It’s just hard to see sometimes, especially with all the work going on,” Shaw said.

Both coaches agree that the construction and the closure of the Gymnasium will affect recruiting in the offseason and that they will have to explain to recruits that this is good for the college.

Johnson said recruiting would be one of the most affected areas during construction.

“I think if you let the kids know, that we do have a place that we consider home and hopefully some of them praise the fact that we’ll probably be playing the Richmond Auditorium,” he said.

Shaw said that he hopes the planned facelift for the Gymnasium will be for the ultimate good of the college.

In the April 17, 2018 edition of The Advocate, Contra Costa Community College District Facilities Planner Ray Pyle said that the project would add a lobby to both the Men’s and Women’s locker rooms and to the east side of the Gym, where the new main entrance (of the Gym) will be.

Pyle also said that there will be a concession stand and a ticket booth there also.

It is unclear if the project will be able to be finished in the planned 18-month span.

“We’re just happy to be getting these upgrades for our college,” Wade said.

Johnson said that the upcoming meetings would provide everybody with more details about the construction.