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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Second floor of Sanderson to close amid renovation

Ivy Rose Ball
Ashlyn Burse, a freshman marketing major, exercising in the Sanderson Center.

Beginning March 1 and lasting through July 31, Mississippi State University’s Sanderson Center will undergo a $2.5 million interior renovation project.

Patrick Nordin, the director of MSU’s University Recreation, explained that despite the major renovations, only parts of the building are to be closed.

“Beginning in March, March 1, the contractor will come in and start working on the second floor,” Nordin said. “So, the entire second floor of the building will be closed off.”

This will be the Sanderson Center’s first

major renovation since it opened in the summer of 1998.

Nordin, who has been working at the Sanderson Center since 2003, stated that the plan is to remove some of the pre-existing fitness areas that were less frequently used and replace them with what students have been requesting.

“What they are going to be doing is taking that entire upstairs space and converting it into a large open fitness area,” Nordin said. “So, all five of the racquetball courts go away, the separating walls that form the existing courts will go away and that space gets opened up and maximized for a new fitness space, which is in high demand.”

According to Nordin, the racquetball courts will be removed due to their dwindling use by students over the years.

“Racquetball was popular in the 80s and 90s,” Nordin said. “But the number of students playing racquetball, it is just not what it used to be. So, there is no intention of bringing them back there.”

Nordin said the three racquetball courts downstairs will be staying for the people who play racquetball.

Nordin said the goal of the upstairs renovations is to appease students who have complained about the lack of space downstairs.

Cole Butler, a sophomore software engineering major, feels satisfied with the planned renovations.

“I like that they’re adding new equipment because it’s pretty crowded,” Butler said. “It gets really crowded down here and I have had to wait in line before. There is not a whole lot of good stuff up there, so I am glad they are adding equipment.”

Butler expressed that, despite not having strong feelings about racquetball, he has mixed feelings about them removing most of the courts.

“I am all for more equipment,” Butler said. “And maybe a few less courts are ok, But I do not want them to take away too many of them.”

Thomas Schooler, a senior applied science major, agrees that the new fitness area is needed and said the Sanderson currently lacks the space to support an expanding student population.

“More space is better because right now our current state at Sanderson is pretty limited,” Schooler said. “New people are coming in and out of the gym, and most people go to the gym to socialize and work out.”

The upstairs renovations are not the only changes coming to the Sanderson Center. There are also plans to utilize the pre-existing space downstairs to include more physical activities.

Nordin said the changes plan to appease a growing demand for more climbing activities.

“The downstairs racquetball courts are going to be walled off,” Nordin said. “We are going to be adding a bouldering cave to the court on the west side of the downstairs. It will be a climbing wall where you don’t need ropes. It’s lower and will allow students to come in and climb whenever they want to.”

Norton hinted that there are further changes that are being considered to help modernize the Sanderson.

“We have some renderings provided by the architects of what could be,” Nortin said. “They had some really cool ideas for how to bring the Sanderson into the 2020s. It is just a matter of having the funding secured to be able to do these things.”

For the moment, Nortin is confident that the current plans will satisfy student requests.

“I think that when we come back for the fall semester in 2024, I think students are going to be very pleasantly surprised by the changes that were made to the Sanderson Center,” Nortin said.

About the Contributor
Michael Cassidy
Michael Cassidy, Staff Writer
Michael Cassidy is a senior communication major. Michael is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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