Morgan Golliver, Sports Editor
Two years after the completion of the $8 million Todd and Jen Hutton Recreational Center, Utica College has continued renovations to its athletic facilities.
These renovations include new men’s and women’s hockey locker rooms at the Adirondack Bank Center, new dugouts added to both the baseball and softball fields, and most recently, upgrades to the main gym in the Harold T. Clark Athletic Center over the summer.
In the gym, the major and most notable upgrade was the installation of new bleachers that read “UTICA” on one side and “UC” on the other, written in orange lettering.
“The new bleachers came through a generous donation from Wester and Wesley Miga, the sons of Doris and Walter Miga,” said Dave Fontaine, the college’s athletic director. “Doris was a professor at UC for 40 years and she was very much involved in what we do in athletics and was very supportive of our efforts.”
Fontaine also said the new bleachers are more efficient and safer than the old bleachers.
“Setting up and breaking down the bleachers happen much quicker as everything is all automated now,” Fontaine said. “Before, it would take 45 minutes and a couple of people per side to set up the bleachers, but now, it can be done in 20 minutes with just a press of a button.”
The new bleachers are also appealing to many student-athletes on campus, especially men’s and women’s basketball players who compete in the gymnasium.
“When I first heard about the changes, I was very excited,” said Justin Mayers, a senior on the UC men’s basketball team. “I felt that these changes were necessary because the other bleachers were very old and out of style.”
Mayers said the new bleachers give the gym a better look.
“I love the new bleachers and the color scheme, especially with our school’s name written across them,” Mayers said. “It makes the gym light up.”
The UC women’s basketball team was also excited about the announcement of the new bleachers.
“I know the entire team was thrilled about the idea of getting new bleachers,” said Briannah Florian, a senior forward. “The new navy and orange bleachers definitely improve the appearance of the entire gym, which will make the atmosphere of games so much more enjoyable. Having these new bleachers means a lot to our team, and we can’t wait until family, friends and other spectators get to enjoy them too during our season.”
In addition to the bleachers, there is also a new video scoretable, which allows photos and videos to be shown to the fans before volleyball or basketball games, similar to what is shown at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium.
Jalyn Brown, the assistant women’s basketball coach, first saw the video scoreboard at a volleyball game, and she was impressed.
“If I were to play here, I’d think the changes [to the scoreboard and bleachers] were necessary because it makes the gym look more presentable and professional,” Brown said. “I think we have a better gym in our conference with these renovations, and it brings a lot of excitement into the season.”