By Will Ford
Knights Hall is already one of the toughest places to play in the Great Lakes Valley Conference for any sport, but this summer it got a little tougher. Our gym got a “freshening up,” says Bellarmine athletic director Scott Wiegandt, and the best fan base in the conference can once again make Knights Hall a painful road trip for every opposing team.
In April, construction crews began giving Knights Hall new heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The side goals were repaired. The ceiling tiles were replaced and the gym got a new paint job. The lobby also was improved with new lighting, paint, and signage.
Maybe most importantly, though, is that soon all seats in Knights Hall will be updated to have chair backs so that fans may sit comfortably when they cheer for the Knights.
The seating capacity was also tweaked in the midst of these renovations. Patrick Crush, the director of athletics events management, explains that even though the seating is different for basketball and volleyball games, as well as floor presentations, the capacity at a basketball game for the 2013-2014 season will be 2,194. That is down from 2,222 from last year. According to Crush, the change in seating allows for more handicapped seating in three sections. “With this change, there will now be adequate accessibility seating in each of the four corners of the level,” he says. The student section was not affected.
Scott Davenport, coach of the basketball team, believes the renovations will have a big impact on recruiting. With an updated gym, prospective athletes will recognize Bellarmine’s investment in their facilities. It is already “hands down the best in the country,” according to Davenport; this gym is “built like 2020, not 2013.” Davenport says this renovation is for the fans because “they deserve it. There are some people who have sat in the same seat for 25 or 30 years. They are the best of the best.”
If you are a freshman, you have already seen a partially updated Knights Hall at convocation, but everyone can check it out at the first volleyball match of the year. The Knights play Drury University at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 28th.
Wiegandt knows that Knights Hall could be the best-looking gym in the country, but it is nothing without the students. He challenges Knights’ nation to pack it in for every game—not just basketball.