The reason behind the Cowles renovation

by Trina Elam

It all started with a need for a pool. 

The Simpson swimming pool lost thousands of gallons of water every month. It was old and needed a lot of work.

John Sirianni, Special Assistant to President Simmons, said Simpson decided to form a “partnership with YMCA to build a true competitive pool at the Y.”

There were a lot of areas to improve on in the fitness center. Moving the swimming pool to the YMCA gave the college a lot of opportunities to fill the empty space and make those improvements.

By renovating the Cowles/Carse area, Sirianni explained, “we felt like we were able to dramatically improve our academic space, our recreational space and our athletic space.”

So on March 1, 2013, the Simpson Athletic Complex started to form. It consists of four buildings: Steven Johnson Fitness Center, Carse Hall, Cowles Center and Hopper Gym.

When whole teams worked out, the old weight room was extremely cramped. There needed to be separation between the sports teams and the general campus population. The new two-floor complex includes an exercise and fitness center on the top floor and a strength and conditioning center downstairs to give both groups space.

“It’s not as big as I expected, but I think the equipment is nice and there is a pretty good variety for us to use,” said sophomore Emily Koss. Koss uses the exercise and fitness center in the evenings.

Sirianni said the new complex will be more functional for students, faculty and coaches while being attractive for recruitment purposes.

The Hall of Fame, a meeting room and a display hall are still under renovation and are expected to be finished by Feb. 7, the complex’s dedication day.