Facilities in need of upgrades, athletes say

Facilities in need of upgrades, athletes say

by Chris KunzeStaff Writer

Some students say that the athletic facilities at Simpson College are not up to par when compared to those of other schools in the IIAC.

Most of the complaints come from people who primarily use the indoor facilities. Cowles Fieldhouse was renovated in 1997 and was called the top in the conference because of the upgrades. Since then, other colleges in the IIAC have been updating their facilities.

“We just got a new field house a couple years ago with five tennis courts and basketball courts and the main courts were resurfaced over Christmas break,” Central College sophomore Kristin Scherff said.

Scherff said the new weight room equipment Central has was built thanks to large donations from the alumni.

“We had quite a few donors donate $150,000 to use for the new equipment in 2007,” Scherff said.

Jessica Casey, a sophomore at Buena Vista University, used to play softball there and loved their field and spoke about how most colleges she’s been to in the conference have an inside track. Simpson is one of the few colleges left in the conference without an indoor track. She also commented that the only downside to the facilities at Buena Vista was that the weight room and equipment had not been replaced for several years.

“We got a new indoor track for our field house and have a great basketball court redone,” Casey said.

Sophomore JJ Vanderheiden, a center on the Simpson men’s basketball team, thinks Simpson’s facilities rival Central’s in most aspects but others like Wartburg, Loras or Buena Vista have better ones.

“Every other school has a real floor for basketball, not just a lay-down floor, and having to practice in Hopper is stupid because it is really hard to get things accomplished in that gym,” Vanderheiden said. “We probably have one of the worst practice facilities in the conference when it comes to basketball, except for maybe Luther.”

Vanderheiden said Luther has the best weight room among IIAC schools.

“We have the same or better quality than most colleges but [our weight room] is just a smaller room than the other schools,” Vanderheiden said.

Simpson’s outdoor facilities have undergone many changes in the past three years. Athletic Director John Sirianni points to new tennis courts, the new entrance to the football field and changes made to the baseball field like the scoreboard and seats.

“We are in a needs assessment process right now to see where we are with our indoor facilities,” Sirianni said. “In 1997, the Cowles and Hopper renovation was probably the best in the conference and we were the first school in our conference to put in artificial turf.

“Simpson has undergone many changes in the past 10 years with our athletic facilities and since the Cowles and Hopper renovation, our outdoor facilities have been changing the most,” Sirianni said. “It just comes in a cycle and the next thing on the list is the field house.”