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Copyright 2018 The Daily Record Apr 8, 2018

Daily Record; Wooster, Ohio


WOOSTER — Never is there a dull moment on the campus of the College of Wooster, where facility improvements continue to be made at a rapid pace.

As the Ruth W. Williams Hall of Life Science moves toward completion over the summer, other ambitious capital improvements are under way, including changes to Lowry Center and Armington Physical Education Center.

The PEC's Timken Gym, now stripped of its 50-year-old interior, is the canvas for part of a $5 million physical upgrade.

"The bleachers are gone; the gym floor is gone," said Doug Laditka, associate vice president of facilities management and development. "We started painting this week — the first thing we're going to do."

Next on the agenda will be installing the duct work for air conditioning, the sound system and scoreboards, laying the floor and "finally, (putting in) the bleachers," Laditka said.

The new gymasium floor will feature high-grade, northern hard maple. The lower level will contain 636 chair-back seats and 676 bleacher seats with backs and the upper level with 1,302 all-polymer, ergonomically-designed traditional bleacher seats. It will be wheelchair accessible and incorporate 21 designated spaces.

"We're shooting for the end of August (as a completion date)," Laditka said.

Despite slightly smaller seating capacity of 2,600 in the new configuration, "Timken Gym will continue to stand as one of the five largest facilities among small colleges in the state of Ohio," according to Hugh Howard, director of communications.

The Armington project is being done in two phases, he said, summarizing the renovation of Timken Gym, Timken Natatorium and the "Hot Box" gym as the first phase and the locker room overhaul as the second phase.

Phase II is scheduled to begin in March 2019 and finish in August 2019.

One of the main objectives of the upgrades to the locker room, Laditka said, is "creating equity" in the facility for male and female student athletes. Added space will be another advantage of the project.

The "Hot Box" — the multipurpose, recreational gym — has already been painted, given new wall padding and further brightened with sanded and polished flooring.

"Without spending a whole lot of money in this space, it's beautiful," Laditka said.

The goal of the pool project is the improve safety of operations through a new filtration mechanism and plumbing. Other upgrades include a new roof and moisture-proof ceiling.

Howard quoted Keith Beckett, director of athletics, physical education, and recreation, describing the renovation of Armington as pairing "championship-level athletic teams (with) championship-grade facilities to match. The PEC should be the best of its kind in the North Coast Athletic Conference."

The $5 million cost includes the PEC project and renovations of three residence halls, a project being done on a rotating basis.

Another project is turning the former bowling alley on the lower floor of Lowry Center into an entirely different space.

On one side of a glass partition lining a middle corridor will be "a big collaboration space," Laditka said, to be used for "anything you can imagine," from speakers to bands.

It will encompass "soft seating, tables and chairs, a lot of glass and nice wood finishes," he said.

On the other side will be four smaller meeting rooms to accommodate 8-15 people at a time — "a need we have on campus," Laditka said.

There will also be space for gaming, such as pool or foosball tables.

The majority of the funding for the $2 million project was donated by the Class of 1966, which gave $1.66 million as a 50th anniversary gift. The Lowry Center improvements will be "the next major project," he said, and will involve alterations and expansion.

Lowry was built when student attendance stood at 1,400; it is now 2,000, Laditka said, noting the student center needs modernization and additional room for students.

Reporter Linda Hall can be reached at or 330-264-1125, Ext. 2230. She is @lindahallTDR on Twitter.


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April 9, 2018


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