The Coliseum Opens
A new era began this month with the grand opening of The Coliseum, home to the Department of Health, Physical Education and Sports Studies, and the Wolves basketball and volleyball teams.
The Coliseum is built in two sections connected by a two-story glass atrium. The largest section can be configured for five individual instructional spaces or a single arena for large events. The second section houses academic offices and classrooms featuring a state-of-the art human performance lab. To learn more than you ever wanted to know about The Coliseum, here is an Information Sheet provided by Matthew Clay, building advocate.
Taking on the task of running the largest seating venue ever built on campus and in the West Georgia region is Dr. Lance Hatfield, assistant professor of sport management and the interim director of The Coliseum. Helping Hatfield to manage the building are three interns and an event staff of six.
On the academic side, Dr. Deborah Jenkins, interim chair of the department, is at the helm. More than a dozen instructors and professors moved into the new building in December. The white modern hallways lead to state-of-the-art laboratories, lecture halls, classrooms and faculty offices.
The long awaited building, which began in concept as the Health, Wellness and Lifelong Learning Center, more than a decade ago and eventually morphed into The Coliseum, is a welcome venue for academics and athletics.
Hatfield, who is the only full-time employee managing the building, shared a few thoughts on his new job at The Coliseum.
“My biggest challenge is a toss up,” said Hatfield, who managed athletic facilities at Liberty University and the University of Southern Mississippi. “Coordination is one. This venue is used everyday by academic classes and three varsity sports. Coordinating schedules with these four primary users is sometimes a challenge, especially when outside prospective clients want to use the facility, too. The other major challenge is simply the scope of setup and teardowns. There are a lot of moving parts that have to be touched and manually manipulated.”
Those parts needing touching include the bleachers, goals, rails, wall partitions and rollaway stair sections setup and torn down for the many scheduled events and academic classes. There is rarely a time to setup or tear down without one or more groups in the space.
It’s not only The Coliseum staff that makes events run smoothly, Hatfield said. Athletics oversees the gate operation and provides the manpower, now mostly students, to collect the tickets, serve as ushers and staff the Wolves Hospitality Room.
Public Safety provides eight uniformed officers at every home game and Parking Services holds its own outside directing traffic around the new parking lots and lanes.
Facilities provides approximately six custodial staff for each event and an on-call staff of two to troubleshoot problems and run the sound equipment.
The LRC staff operates media-related equipment including the scoreboard and the Wolf graphics that dance across it.
Last but not least, Aramark and the UWG Bookstore staff are also present at each event.
Jenkins said it is difficult to describe the positive change the building has brought to her department. Here are a few thoughts from the interim chair:
“I have three favorite places so far. One is the aerobics room. I literally tear up every time I see the instructors in there, leading 30-35 students in strenuous activity. These instructors have taught under some adverse conditions over the past four years while they were without a permanent home…teaching in the old auditorium where it’s freezing in the winter and hot in the summer, scheduling around other activities to use the aerobics room in the Campus Center. This room is so beautiful…gleaming wood floors, spotless mirrors along one side, large adjacent storage and warm lights…I love to see the absolute joy on the face of the instructors when they use that incredible room. And it is, by far, our most widely used room.
Third is the Human Performance Laboratory. This lab houses state-of-the-art equipment for specific research on health and physiology topics and issues. It holds great promise for faculty members from across campus to better understand and to conduct specific research on health and exercise-related issues that can truly impact society. The potential in that room thrills me.”
An Open House is scheduled on Saturday, Feb. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. where tours of the facilities will be conducted.
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