The college’s newly reconstructed athletic center will include a dedicated strength and conditioning center with new equipment, double the previous space for fitness classes and LED fixtures powered by a rooftop photovoltaic array.
Valerie Townsend, Pomona-Pitzer’s head volleyball coach and professor of physical education, is eager for a homecoming after the new facilities’ construction displaced her students and players for over two years.
“It’s really exciting to see this come to fruition. The players can’t wait to get back in the gym,” Townsend said. “The improvements to technology, locker rooms, and having more spaces for more classes — everyone’s going to be really pleased when they see the finished product.”
It’s been four years in the making for some athletes to enjoy the new facilities’ main court and upper-level Mount Baldy overlook. The pandemic delaying construction into October felt even longer for basketball player Emily Church PO ’23.
“It was so challenging at times for the Linde [Activities Center] at Harvey Mudd to accommodate Mudd students’ PE in addition to Pomona-Pitzer volleyball and basketball during overlapping seasons,” Church said.
Townsend acknowledged it has taken a village to accommodate the volume of indoor sports and physical education courses that had formerly been housed in the Rains Center for Sports and Recreation.
“As the fitness coordinator, I was very fortunate that on campus, Pendleton and Smith Campus Center continued to work with us to host our classes,” she said. “This year, Pitzer and Scripps College have pitched in for our karate, aerobics and indoor cycling classes until we get into the new facility.”
But despite the challenges students and faculty have faced during the construction period, student athletes like Cole Barry PZ ’23 remained hopeful.
“Losing Rains Center in the middle of my sports career was tough,” Barry said. “But watching it transform into a facility that truly represents the Sagehens and the amazing teams we play for has been more exciting.”
Until the newly renovated facility is finished, Pomona students have other options to stay active, according to a Thursday email from Director of Intramurals Brandon Johnson.
An auxiliary fitness facility located adjacent to Strehle track is equipped with treadmills, ellipticals, free weights and a few other pieces of exercise equipment.
Pomona students can also access Pitzer College’s athletic space at the Gold Student Center, as well as the various running tracks, pools and tennis courts around campus when varsity teams aren’t practicing.