Teaching gym set to open spring ’09

Florida A&M is scheduled to have a gym that will accommodate the entire student body, faculty and community by this time next year.

Work is already underway on the new gymnasium that will be located on Wahnish Way. It is estimated to cost $34.2 million.

The four-story facility will house FAMU’s physical education department and include areas for sports and physical education training, a hydrotherapy pool, concession stands and ticket booths.

Plans also include building interactive learning classrooms, athletic and physical education offices and an indoor track and arena, according to information provided by the University’s public information office.

Gaither Athletic Center is too small to accommodate the student body for many campus activities including graduation, which is currently held at the Leon County Civic Center.

The new facility will hold more than 9,000 people.

The last construction done on the athletic center was in the 1980s when it was expanded to include a women’s athletic complex, an Olympic-size pool, men’s and women’s weight training rooms and softball and baseball fields.

The Tallahassee-based Turner Construction, and the Georgia-based Rosser International are constructing the new gymnasium.

University President James Ammons said he is thankful for the construction that is being done on the gymnasium.

“We are grateful for the working partnership this project demonstrates between FAMU and Turner Construction, Rosser International and the subcontractors that will come in to finish this facility,” Ammons said.

The president also applauded the workers who made the effort to do the landscaping for the construction workers.

“We also salute the workers that have dug in and worked diligently to get us to this point,” Ammons said. “However, we are anxious to begin planning activities that will occur, therefore I hope our presence today will show you our support for your efforts.”

The new teaching gym will serve the community that surrounds FAMU and will house important events.

“This teaching gym will serve as a significant venue for attracting concerts, commencements and other entertainment that we have been unable to accommodate in the past,” Ammons said.

Sharon Saunders, spokeswoman for the University, agreed.

“I think it will be an asset to the community,” Saunders said. “We will be hosting a lot of important events in the gym.”

Saunders said the construction of the gym will allow more people to come and enjoy events at the University.

“We will have more space to accommodate more activities,” Saunders said. “It will be a very good asset for the University and the community.”

Not only will the gym be used for sports-related events, it will also be used for conducting research.

Donald Palm, associate vice president for academic affairs, said with the addition of the new teaching gym certain research projects will be devised that will allow for future innovations in teaching.