Courtesy of John Farina. Formerly a blue padded Sport Court, the new fourth floor WoodPEC basketball courts now have a wooden surface, updated graphics and new basketball hoops. The courts are set to open on Monday, Sept. 15. The new surface is safer, as it pads the concrete floor beneath the courts.

The newest addition to Emory’s athletic facilities is scheduled to officially open this upcoming Monday, Sept. 15, as a new wooden basketball surface will replace the blue padded Sport Court on the Woodruff P.E. Center’s (WoodPEC) fourth floor.

Megan Ahrens, Emory’s Assistant Director for Facilities, spoke to the Wheel about the project, which includes the new wood floor, blue and gold Emory logos and three point lines and new basketball hoops. While the installation of the court began on Aug. 2, Ahrens has been working on the project for a long period of time.

“I began researching prices for this project in August of 2011, but as the project became more of a reality, I became more involved in the spring of 2013 when I was asked to get some hard prices on wood flooring and replacement basketball goals for the fourth floor,” she said.

The first step in the court’s installation was the removal of the Sport Court, which has been in the fourth floor since its opening in 2005.

“[The Sport Court] had reached the end of its reasonable life in that space,” Ahrens said.

She expects the new wooden surface to be a “significant upgrade.”

According to Director of Athletics and Recreation Tim Downes, the Sport Court was merely a thin pad laid over a concrete floor, and it was not forgiving on the joints and bones of its users. In contrast, the new wooden floors have been placed with a set of padding and supports that make them a soft, safe running surface.

“I’m excited about what the floor can mean both in terms of providing an upgrade in surface and in adding flexibility in what we can use the space for,” Downes said.

The initial completion date for the new court was Saturday, Sept. 6, but the opening was pushed back because of delays in the graphics for the court, as well as maintenance issues with the freight elevator.

Despite the later-than-planned opening date, Ahrens is pleased with the way the project went.

“It is the smoothest major project we’ve seen in recent history of making larger-scale renovations, and we have been thrilled with the work done by CBA Sports,” she said.

Ahrens raved about the quality of the graphics, calling them “beautiful and complicated,” as well as “stunning.”

Aside from aesthetics, the renovated court offers the WoodPEC much-needed flexibility, as it is now “a suitable alternative” to the first floor’s court.

The premium space is available for Emory students and WoodPEC members.

It can also be used for varsity and club sport practices, Emory intramurals and Play Emory instruction. This flexibility will positively impact many of the WoodPEC’s events, according to Ahrens.

Ahrens already has her sights set on further improvements to Emory’s athletic facilities. According to Ahrens, the university is currently planning to renovate the indoor tennis courts on the WoodPEC’s fourth floor, as well as the indoor track on the third floor. The tennis courts were added in 2005, and the track is original to the WoodPEC building, which was built in 1983.

Downes said he feels a special connection to the building and has no hopes of it being replaced, but rather it being updated.

Sports Editor Zak Hudak contributed reporting.

– By Oliver Rockman