The Connolly Center Gets a Makeover
Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 2:24 PM PST
As Seattle U begins a new quarter, the Seattle U Athletics department is celebrating its own new beginning. A new and improved Connolly Center, where alumni and students alike will be able to enjoy Seattle U’s athletic teams in a better-looking and better-functioning facility.
“The feeling is that of gratitude,” says Eric Guerra, the Associate Athletic Director for Finance and Compliance, on how it feels to see the center finally ready to re-open. Eric has been a key player in the plans for the remodel, which has been in the works since the early 2000s. He explains that, “The renovation is invigorating to the entire department—it is inspiring.”
The remodel is focused on meeting the gender equity requirements of Title IX of the United States Education Amendment, which, in the case of the SU Connolly Center, includes improved student athlete and spectator experiences. This means completely new locker rooms, better seating, and a more welcoming facility for spectators and student athletes. The Connolly Center’s renovations primarily affect the Women’s Basketball and Volleyball teams, both of which call the Connolly Center’s North Court home.
The renovation—also known as the Commitment to Equity Renovation—is the final piece in Seattle U’s five-year gender equity plan, which also included improvements to Logan Field at SU Park. Logan Field, the Connolly Center, and the Eisminger Fitness Center were all designed with continuity in mind—all three facilities have similar design elements and materials, but are also individually tailored to their specific need.
Another part of the Connolly Center remodel is making game day a more enjoyable experience for the spectators. This means not only reconfigured seating, but seats that are overall better-looking and more comfortable. Additionally, attendees will enjoy superior concession stands and even improved entryways featuring prominent symbols of Seattle U. “We hope [the Connolly Center] is a source of pride,” Eric explained. “A place that everyone is welcomed and that inspires us all to even greater heights.”
Though the exterior won’t be finished until late January, the interior’s North Court hosted its opening game on December 19th, in which the women’s basketball team faced off against Boise State. Our lady Redhawks played to an enthusiastic crowd, and, though they lost the game, they have seven more opportunities to triumph at North Court before the WAC Championships in March.
Eric let us in on what’s thrilled him most about the Connolly Center’s re-opening: “So many things have me excited, but none more than the teams taking the court for the first time and for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni to discover a terrific (renewed) place to come cheer on their Redhawks.”
The next game at the Connolly Center is Saturday, January 9th, at 2:00 p.m., when the women’s basketball team plays Chicago State.
Written by Miranda Benson, '17