College works at upkeep, updating athletic facilities

by Cassie Norman

Keeping Simpson’s facilities in working order and running smoothly is no small task due to the wear and tear caused by students, faculty, staff and community members on a daily basis.

Facility Manager Cory Chapman is in charge of the maintenance of equipment, developing the budget and plans for future improvements. He is also responsible for overseeing the weightroom and supervising the large student staff it takes to run the facilities, including around 45 work-study students and three undergraduate assistants.

According to Chapman, the weightroom requires a great deal of maintenance, which results in substantial expense. When a treadmill breaks down, it is important to get it fixed because of its constant use from early in the morning until late at night. The last treadmill that broke down was not fixed due to the high cost. The repair would have cost $1,200.

Push, Pedal, Pull is the exercise equipment service in charge of the maintenance. Despite the large workload, Chapman and students using the facility have been happy with their work. Senior Zac Craig works out regularly in the weightroom and likes the quality of the company’s work.

“With everything being used by so many students, there’s going to be some breakdowns,” Craig said. “They don’t do it quick all the time because they’re so busy around campus, but when they do get to it, they do an extremely good job.”

Sophomore Annie Marshall uses the weightroom and pool. She is mostly satisfied with the maintenance of both facilities and their hours, but would like to see some small changes.

“I’m pretty happy for the most part,” Marshall said. “I think the pool could be cleaned more, but the weightroom seems fine. The weightroom is open a lot, and I like that the pool is open in the morning because there’s not too many people. The pool should be open in the evening. It’d be a huge thing if it was open for an hour or two.”

Chapman’s duties also include scheduling the gym and playing fields. With the numerous activities taking place on campus, including Simpson, Indianola High School and community events, finding a way to fit everyone in can be difficult.

“It gets really busy starting February 1 when there’s men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, track and intramurals all wanting gym time,” Chapman said. “Unfortunately, with the way our facilities are some teams could be literally starting practice at 9 p.m.”

Athletic Director John Sirianni recognizes the conflicts taking place over practice time in the winter, but feels Simpson’s competition facilities are good.

“We’re at the top of the conference as far as playing surfaces,” Sirianni said. “We compare very well. The area we need to address is practice facilities and dealing with inclement weather and winter practices without going at 9 p.m.”

The Athletic Department is currently undergoing fundraising for renovations and updates to McBride Field, where the baseball team plays, the Simpson Softball Complex and the Buxton Tennis Courts.

When finished, the baseball and softball fields will have new lights, new scoreboards and new bleachers. The tennis court will have a complete facelift with new courts, fences, bleachers and landscaping. A strategic plan is being put together as far as further steps for improvement. The athletic administration understands teams need high-quality facilities to succeed.

“Just like Division I and professional sports, it’s an arms race in order to compete,” Sirianni said. “You have to continually look at and improve your facilities and program.”