For the first time in its history, Gampel Pavilion will be getting a new court.
On Tuesday, UConn announced the original hardwood has reached the end of its useful life after 33 years and will be replaced this coming offseason.
Installed in 1990, the court is sanded and refinished each offseason which means the thickness of the wood has been slowly reduced and can no longer be sanded. After commencement begins, work will start on removing the old floor, making any necessary renovations to the subfloor, installing the new hardwood, refinishing it, and finally painting it. The new surface will be made of maple.
“The time has come for that legendary hardwood to be replaced as we continue to keep our focus on maintaining our facilities at the highest level so we can provide our coaches and student-athletes the tools they need to compete for championships,” UConn athletic director David Benedict said in a release.
This is the second major renovation project in recent years. In 2017, the school replaced the interior roof panels which had started falling apart and become a major eyesore in the arena. With the completion of UConn’s “Olympic Village” — the new baseball, softball, and soccer stadiums as well as the new training center — and Toscano Family Ice Forum, the school’s new on-campus hockey arena, a major upgrade of Gampel Pavilion should be one of UConn’s new major athletics projects.
While the atmosphere remains unmatched, the arena has started to show its age in terms of fan experience — especially with UConn men’s basketball back among the nation’s elite.
Also on the list of upcoming capital projects is a renovation and expansion of Greer Field House and the former student recreation facility. The field hockey, rowing, swimming, tennis, and both men’s and women’s track and field teams will all get new locker rooms and team offices along with an academic center, clinical space for sports medicine and mental health services, kinesiology teaching space, a rowing practice tank, strength and conditioning space, a kitchen/nutrition area, and multipurpose training and meeting spaces.
The project is funded by a donation from Dr. Trisha Bailey, a 1999 UConn graduate and former track and field athlete who gave the largest gift to UConn athletics ever. The school has not provided a timeline for construction yet.
That isn’t the case with the new floor in Gampel Pavilion, though. It needs to be completed by late August for the start of volleyball season — assuming the team doesn’t move to another facility. UConn hasn’t announced what it’ll do with the old court, though it’s possible pieces will be sold as a fundraising effort.
“It will not be thrown in the garbage, let’s put it that way,” UConn Board of Trustees Dan Toscano said at a meeting, per UConn Today.