Gaither Gym: back in business

Photo Courtesy by Jordan Sheppard
New initiates of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity during their 2018 probate.

The temporary closing of Gaither gym is coming to an end. This four-month project, also known as the Gaither Gym Floor Replacement Project, is demolishing old flooring and to replacing it due to hazardous safety concerns.   

This current task of FAMU’s facilities management budgeted at roughly $200,000 covering costs to complete demolition, installation of new flooring and its upkeep. 

According to the Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Kelvin Rosier, he and Facilities Management discussed reasoning to start this project’s timing. 

“We felt it was appropriate to begin in January because of correlation of the vendor’s availability and funding,” said Rosier. “Since the funding was approved in December, and there was an established vendor, we wanted to proceed, so that it would be available before the summer months.”

While Gaither is a main hub to host different events, its primary and intended use is for athletics. Flooring in Gaither hindered many athletic programs at FAMU–including men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.

Former FAMU’s men’s basketball forward, Nicholas Severado, was shocked to discover the gym would be accessible for the team to practice. 

“That’s great for the team to have, so they can continue to work on their game.” Severado said. “There shouldn’t be any excuses to excel on the court.”

This aids the basketball program in many ways–from individual player development to recruitment. 

“When I step foot on this campus, the gym floor was one of the needs of paramount,” said FAMU’s men's Head Coach Robert McCollum. 

“It feels good to be at the finish line of a major necessity because the athletes are deserving,” McCollum said. “Almost 99 percent of the time, prospects ask ‘how often can I get in the gym and work on my game’?”

The team has faced challenges trying to pinpoint a place to practice. Considering the Alfred Lawson Center is “multi-purpose,” athletes were confined to the influx of calendar events and operated around that.

This major limitation of Gaither is now obsolete.  

Due to the construction, persons were denied requests January through March to book and use the gym.

Events are now scheduled for use as early as this upcoming weekend.