The nearly-complete $27 million project to redesign and rebuild the El Pomar sports complex has yielded a vault like Fort Knox. Gone are the days of waltzing into the gym; after 5 p.m., expect to show your student ID if you want to pump iron.
Roughly 30,000 square feet and only two access points, unless you’re a Varsity athlete.
El Pomar has an entrance on Cache La Poudre St. that closes at the end of office hours, an entrance down by the Varsity weight room that will be accessible only to athletic department staff and Varsity athletes only by gold card swipe; and a north entrance that will open with the final stage of the complex, which is intended to be the primary access point for all traffic in and out of the gym.
“The reason behind the limited access points is that allows us to control who uses the facility better than we’ve had in the past,” Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Greg Capell, said.
When entering the gym, students, faculty, and members of the greater CC community, guests and alumni, will be met by an individual there to make sure the people who are supposed to be there have access, and the people who aren’t supposed to be there do not.
“Our intent is to funnel as many user groups through the north entrance as possible for a couple reasons,” Chris Starr, Director of Intramural Sports, said. “One is the idea that you’ll be met and greeted by a person. There is also going to be limited access on the [Cache la Poudre] side, that’ll be primary during business hours. Again, everyone will be greeted by person, so we want to have that face on our facility.”
The increase in security reflects a campus wide approach by the administration in response to the fact that, though many of us forget, we do live in an urban setting and we need to treat it as such.
Capell called attention to the feedback he used to receive from students that were not feeling safe exiting the old gym alone at night.
“What we would like to see is the vast majority of the student use through the north doors into the new fitness center,” Capell said
The north entrance was strategically placed where the college can control lighting in efforts to make students feel safer. Located above the turf field and behind Cossitt, the entrance is a natural funnel for the rest of the campus.
The advantages are clear: students will be safer, and the theft problem that has existed in the past will be eliminated. But does this say anything about Colorado College’s interface with the community?
“[President Tiefenthaler] has made it very clear that this facility is for students first and our community first.” Starr said. “Athletics is often a natural way to bridge gaps in the community because it transcends so many barriers, but this project was built with the intention for students first and foremost, and then the greater CC community.”
There will be an access policy to accommodate guests of students and faculty, and CC alumni who would like to use the facilities. Guests won’t need Gold Cards, but as a student, expect to need yours.
This change may not be a problem for most, but that small easy-to-lose piece of plastic is an annoyance for some athletes heading out to practice.
“I’m never going to remember to bring my Gold Card, but it does make sense,” four-year Varsity athlete Frances Staadt said.
“It’s just an annoyance. Being a senior we don’t need our Gold Cards for anything. I get it, it, and I’m proud of our new building, but we can’t get back in after practice. It’s going to be a drag,” another four-year Varsity athlete, Kate Krieger said.
Whether you find it annoying or not, staff will reiterate that this increase in security reflects a campus wide approach that the administration is taking in response to the fact that we’re redesigning based on the fact that we live on an urban campus.
Starr is pleased with the increased security, despite the particulars.
“We have a brand new beautiful $27 million project here for the whole campus,” she said. “You have to start somewhere. This [complex] was built for students, and for students to have access. It’s not a community fitness center.”
The projected date for the El Pomar fitness center to be complete and ready for use is sometime during the 1st week of block 7.