This past January, Mercy College added a new project on its plate: the construction of a brand new gym and new West Entry way up at Victory Hall, as well as hillside seating bleachers near the field.
The Vice President for Operations and Facilities at Mercy College, Thomas Simmonds, is excited about the additions and feels that it will add to the beauty of Mercy.
“The architectural feel for renovations will be inviting, collaborative, and collegial,” said Simmonds. “We are continuing the themes initiated with the additional Hudson Hall of blending the older building designs with new modern transformative features.”
The new renovations at Victory will expand the gym as well as add an elevator in the west entrance. Also, Mercy plans to add a connection between Victory Hall and the music studios, currently located in portables outside of Victory.
“This project will enhance student activity related to athletics and student recreation, as well as the Communication and Arts Department delivery.”
Questions have arisen as to why Mercy is doing all of this construction now. When it comes to timing, Simmonds says that the plan has been in place for a while now.
“We are addressing the accessibility and circulation needs of campus in this zone, and implementing the multi-year plan for repurchasing and modernizing the two former gymnasiums.”
The addition of the new elevator in the front west side of Victory will add to the architectural beauty of Mercy as well as make it easier to access the second floor cafe.
When it comes to the athletics part of the project, Athletic Director Matt Kilcullen is very excited about these and other new renovations.
“We are looking forward to having the new gym completed. We have been working for this for two years now, and I am very excited to get the ball rolling on things.”
Due to the construction and no gym, both Mercy basketball teams as well as the women’s volleyball team have had to play their ‘home’ games away from home. The new gym will be a great addition for players and fans to finally be at Mercy for home games.
“I give a lot of credit to our basketball and volleyball teams,” said Kilcullen. “They haven’t been able to play a home game at home in the past two years, but they have been great about it and we are excited to have this new gym for them to be in.”
The new gym will include an expanded basketball court, brand new locker rooms for both home and visitors, new chair back spectator seating, athletic training room and hydrotherapy area as well as improved accessibility of the building.
“The new gym is expected to be a first class facility when all is said and done. We are on track to doubling the capacity in the new gym from the old one, going from 150 capacity to over 350 now.”
The new court will be an open gym allowing students to come in and play on their free time and enjoy the new facility with the athletes.
“It is going to be a great atmosphere for students and fans and hopefully with the new student section we can have a home court advantage this upcoming 2018/2019 season.”
The gym renovations are expected to be completed by August of 2018.
In addition to the new gym, Mercy has also been in construction down at the field, putting in a new hillside seating.
“We felt the last couple of seasons that there was a need for better seating down on the hill overlooking the turf field,” said Kilcullen. “We wanted to make it more of a stadium feel.”
The hillside seating was expected to be completed at the end of February; however with the weather delays, the top two rows of the seating is open and the rest of the seating is close to being finished.
Kilcullen and the athletics department do not plan on stopping renovations after the seating is finished. They are looking to hopefully add lights to the field and possibly add more sports in the future.