by Clifford Michel
A court fit for CUNYAC (City University of New York Athletic Conference) Champions. That’s what the College of Staten Island set out to build on August 26 when contractors began renovation of the CSI’s basketball court, projected to be completed in time for the Women’s Basketball first home match on November 19.
CSI’s Men’s Basketball team won back to back CUNYAC/Con Edison Men’s Basketball Championship in 2013 and 2012, leading some to link the gym’s reconstruction with the team’s success. Not so, says Director of Athletics, Charles Gomes.
“Several years ago, there was a major leak in the gym that totally compromised the floor. The old floor had to be taken out and what we’ve been using for the past five or six years was only meant to be a temporary floor,” said Gomes. “So this has been a project that’s been a long time coming, we’ve just been finally able to get it now.”
Currently, the home of CSI basketball and volleyball resembles an abandoned pit. The floorboards, scoreboard and bleachers have been completely ripped out as the demolition phase of the renovation recently reached completion.
But a quick look to the right of what was the main gym, into the auxiliary basketball court, will give Dolphin fans a sneak peek at what the gym will become in a few months. The auxiliary court features a new polished floor, topped off with CSI’s rebranded Dolphin logo and the addition of black to go along with the school’s classic baby blue color.
The renovation of the court doesn’t stop with just school colors. The Athletic Department also remembered the student body during their decision-making. Previously the school’s bleachers were unmovable, limiting the amount of gym space. Now the bleachers will be able to fold in order to allow the public more play-space and more access when games aren’t going on.
“I feel like winning basketball programs, always deserve good facilities and CSI’s programs have produced time and time again. And more people might come out to check out the courts,” said Moise Accede.
While the construction of the court won’t interfere with CSI’s basketball schedule, it has already interfered with CSI’s Women’s Volleyball schedule. The squad played their home opener on September 19 against John Jay College of Criminal Justice in the auxiliary gym, which lacks seating for fans.
CSI Baseball and Softball will be making use of the gym during the winter for batting practice.
The auxiliary gym is also only open to the public for an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. But with colder weather approaching, more players will want to play indoors.
Because of all this, Gomes is trying his best to make sure the construction crew stays on pace for the Basketball team’s home opener.
“The tough part is that it’s outside contractors who do the work, so we don’t have a lot of control over them,” said Gomes. “I try to monitor every day and we meet every other week with the construction group to get an update on the progress.”
Gomes hopes that the gym will excite not just athletes, but the entire student body and showoff the school’s commitment towards athletics and intramural sports.
“One of the biggest things we want is for all of or student athletes and all of our students is to have a building that they take pride in, I want the student athletes to compete on that floor and feel good about playing for the College of Staten Island.”
Along with the gym are other changes in athletics, the first being the change in CSI’s logo. Gone are the days of the cartoonish angry-faced dolphin. The new logo features a more realistic depiction of a dolphin, colored menacingly in a metallic dark gray. The athletics department was also happy to unveil their redesigned and easier to navigate website.
“Everything from Volleyball to Basketball and intramurals; that gym is open for intramural as well. We want to try and have the best experience for them,” said Gomes.