Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 kicked off the grand opening of The Multipurpose Center Teaching Gymnasium Wednesday with triumphant music as students, faculty, and public officials gathered to unwraps the newest attraction on campus.
“This FAMU multipurpose center is just another quality asset that will bring much needed value to this economy, not only to the Florida A&M University, but to the city of Tallahassee,” said John Marks mayor of Tallahassee.
Florida Senator Alfred Lawson’s said he’s proud his grandchildren will have the opportunity to play basketball in the new facility.
“I’m thankful that this facility is complete and I’m looking forward to being able to take a shot myself,” Lawson said as he laughed. “I want my granddaughter to play basketball here. She’s not going to even think about Duke because she’s coming here.”
Lawson said he initiated the gym to improve the quality of FAMU’s academic programs.
“I thought it was the right thing to do,” Lawson said. “I thought students will need a great outlet to major in classes of other areas.”
According to Lawson, the old Gaither gym will be used for intramurals and other recreational sports.
Lawson said they want to develop it into a place that can be significant to others besides the FAMU community.
The $43 million new facility is exactly 139,814 square-feet and can hold nearly 10,000 people, according” is a wonderful opportunity for the university as far as faculty; especially our students to have this gym not only academically but socially,” Tolson said.
According to Joseph Ramsey, professor of health, physical education, and recreation, the gym will consist of interactive learning classrooms, computer lab, exercise physiology, fitness and wellness center, kitchen, locker room, hydrotherapy pool, and a dance studio to name a few.
“I believe [the] Rattler community will be extremely proud of what we accomplished,” Ramsey said.
Director of Athletics William Hayes said with the new facility, he believes it will be easier to recruit players.
“All we’ve asked for is an opportunity and a chance,” Hayes said.
President of FAMU, James Ammons said he is looking forward to the events that will be held in this facility.
“I have watched this building evolve and I can not tell you how pleased I am to see the final product,” Ammons said. “I am looking forward to the basketball seasons.”
Janet Sermon, a FAMU alumna and professor in the department of health and physical education, said she is happy that she has seen the gym transform into such a bigger place.
“I am ecstatic, to see that the facility has been completed,” Sermon said. “I do wish we could have had an indoor track, but our budget wouldn’t allow it.”
Many students are taking pride in this new facility and are excited to attend the future games.
Clifford Stone, 19, a criminal justice student from Fort Lauderdale, said now he would be proud to attend the basketball games.
“The old gym was embarrassing,” Stone said. “It was always so packed and hard to get people seated inside.”
Jaren Walker, 20, said he has not attended any basketball games at FAMU, but is now excited to attend.
“I want to come to a game because this new gym is motivation for me to come out and support my school,” said Walker, a jazz studies student from Jacksonville.
Others students said they are noticing improvement in FAMU every year.
“It’s a blessing to see FAMU getting better, especially with the competition from the other school in Tallahassee,” Linder said. “I am going to greatly appreciate graduating in my own gym. It will feel like home.”