The renovations last summer at John Lance Arena were extensive and very visible. Wall-to-wall maple hardwood floors were put into place throughout the arena, and brand-new seating was added. The court was reborn as Whetzel Court.
But that was only phase one of a roughly $2 million project to completely revamp the look of John Lance Arena. Phase two is midway through completion, turning the mezzanine area of the arena into an area that can have multiple uses, help multiple sports and provide multiple opportunities.
“Our progress is going pretty good,” said Pittsburg State athletic director Jim Johnson. “I can’t remember exactly what the date is to be finished in August prior to the volleyball season and the start of school. But we’re on target and maybe a bit ahead of schedule.”
Aided by work that isn’t affected by weather, the mezzanine overlooking the Whetzel Court is in the process of as big an overhaul as the court itself received last year.
The east end will be transformed into the three new offices for the head basketball and volleyball coaches. There will also be a bigger, almost a reception area that Johnson said could be used for individual meetings, hosting recruiting days, or for students to bring their parents.
The west side has been divided into roughly three spaces. The biggest space will be a multi-use meeting room.
“We’re planning on using that for pre-game or halftime receptions during basketball games,” Johnson said. “We don’t have all the details worked out yet. When we’re not having basketball games, it can be a conference room, or host meetings and receptions.”
The other two rooms are more targeted. One will be used for CAPS as a production room, rather than using folding tables courtside. The other room will be a meeting room that may be used for post-game media interviews.
“With the exception of the CAPS media room, all of it is meant to be multi-use. There are no big heavy tables and chairs. They’re all folding tables and chairs so you can use all the spaces for multiple uses,” Johnson said.
The whole project, over the course of two years and including the court, equipment, seating, mezzanine area, and more all adds up to a little more than $2 million, made possible through 100 percent private contributions from the Whetzel family and other donors.
The improvements are nice for now, but they’re even better for the future, when the Center for the Arts will be completed next door and the future Event Center will be eventually attached to the Weede within the next two to three years.
“Because that will be attached, if the track is being used or the event center is in use, the arena can be a warm-up space, or meeting rooms can be used for hospitality rooms,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot more space to handle the big events for logistic issues.”
Page 2 of 2 - But for its intended purpose — basketball and volleyball — the mezzanine work could put new opportunities into place for Pittsburg State.
“We want a place people can go to visit. We’ve not realy had the ability to do that before,” Johnson said. “If we have a doubleheader, it could start at 5:15 p.m. and end at 10:30 or 11. We think folks could go up there and visit, have a beverage or something to eat. Hopefully we get so they come when the women’s basketball team starts and stay until the men end. We’re looking forward to being able to do that.”