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New floor installed in Robins Center

<p>A new floor was installed last year in the Robins Center.</p>

A new floor was installed last year in the Robins Center.

A new floor was installed in the Robins Center basketball arena after last year’s effort to repair cracks failed.

It is unknown how much money was spent on the new floor, as the athletic department declined to comment on the matter.

The company that handled most of the renovations, Barton Malow, did not renovate the basketball floor and therefore could not provide the cost of the job. Instead, Sarah Morgen, a representative for the company, said “the university handled that portion of the renovation internally,” and suggested that University Facilities could provide the cost.

Chuck Rogers, the director of design and construction for University Facilities, was unable to provide a price as well, and suggested that the Office of Business and Finance would provide the cost of the job. David Hale, the vice president for business and finance, did not provide a price for the job.

“As we manage the project and oversee the total project budget, the cost of different elements are intertwined,” Hale said.

Before last season, there were more than 1,000 small cracks in the arena floor, Chris Mooney, head coach of men’s basketball, said. The decision was made to replace the cracked spots with new pieces, rather than replace the entire floor, which was only about three years old.

“Last year, we tried to repair the previous floor and unfortunately those repairs did not work, so that’s why we needed a new floor,” athletic director Keith Gill said.

The temporary solution withstood until midseason, when some cracks reappeared. “The cracks came back in the same spot or some new ones began so they decided to just get a new floor in,” Mooney said.

Genevieve Okoro, a redshirt senior on the women’s basketball team, said she did not feel any uncertainty about her safety while playing on the floor during the season. She noticed some cracking, but there was not any damage that could injure a player, she said.

It was not until after the season that the floor began to get worse, because maintenance did not have to prep it for home games.

“I could see on the floor, before they ripped everything up, I could see the chipping and denting in places that it shouldn’t happen,” Okoro said, describing the floor condition following the season.

The basketball teams had to practice in the Weinstein Center during the renovation, which added a small distraction, senior center Liz Brown said.

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“Practicing [in Weinstein] every once in a while is fine, but having to do everything down there for weeks and weeks at a time becomes frustrating,” she said. She noted having to haul equipment to the Weinstein gym every day for practice, as well as having to reserve courts in the public gym, as reasons for the frustration.

The renovations were done by Oct. 15, marking the first day the basketball teams were allowed back onto the Robins Center court. The floor design is identical to the updated design that debuted last season.

“Other than maybe the players, fans maybe won’t even know that it’s a new floor,” David Walsh, deputy athletic director, said.

The Robins Center is still undergoing its $17 million renovations. Replacing the floor was not a part of the original plan, so it is unclear whether the cost of the floor is included in the $17 million figure.

“The new floor was on the table for last year,” Mooney said. “But we thought we could do the small repairs. But as it turns out, it was just best to get a new floor.”

Last season, the focus was on renovating the interior of the basketball arena, including the installment of four video boards and skybox suites.

Several restroom updates are in progress as well. Athletic department officials insisted that all work would be completed well before both the men’s and women’s teams begin their seasons at home Nov. 14, and that it has not been much of an issue in the teams’ preparation.

Collegian reporter Justin Williamson contributed to this article.

Contact sports editor Charlie Broaddus at charlie.broaddus@richmond.edu

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