Things Are Looking Up At PC
Monday, September 10, 2012
Now that the soap opera that is the Ricky Ledo eligibility story has come to a resolution, things are somewhat quiet up on Smith Hill.
Okay, maybe things aren’t so quiet after all.
We’re a little over a month away from the time when the PC men’s and women’s basketball teams begin daily practice in preparation for the upcoming season. And when they hit the floor at Mullaney Gym inside of Alumni Hall, they will be looking at what appears to be a brand spanking new facility.
Workers are putting the final touches on a multi-million dollar renovation of Alumni Hall, a project that began back in March.
Having seen it firsthand, I must say that the changes are impressive. And there are many other wonderful changes or additions that are not necessarily visible to the naked eye.
So what has been done to the Mullaney Gymnasium?
The arena has been pretty much gutted from ceiling to floor. The new ceiling features new and improved lighting and a new state of the art sound system. The arena also will be air conditioned for the first time since it was built back in the 1950’s.
On the sides of the arena there are no longer wooden bleachers. They, along with the former seating in the upper levels have been replaced by chair back seats throughout the entire arena. And, while fans sit in those newer, more comfortable seats, they will not only get to see what’s on the floor, they will also get to see two brand new video scoreboards as well. And seeing the action on the floor or on the new video scoreboards shouldn’t be an issue for any Friar fan because the old railings in front of the first row of the upper level have been replaced by transparent glass railings.
Also in the upper level are new and enclosed press boxes and the arena is wired for television broadcasts for the first time ever.
One of the last things done will be the installation of a new floor to make the changes complete.
And while PC has yet to go the route of many of the big time college basketball schools by building a brand new practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball, these changes are a gigantic step in the right direction.
While the men’s and women’s basketball teams both practice at Alumni Hall, the women’s team also plays its home games there making these changes even more important to them.
“This is something we needed,” said Providence College Athletic Director Bob Driscoll. “These changes will make this a very nice facility.”
What’s even more exciting is that this isn’t the only upgrade to the athletic facilities in the works at PC. “We will be doing a lot over the next few years,” Driscoll said. “We plan on putting wooden courts down inside the Peterson Rec Center and Schneider Arena is going to undergo major changes. We’re going to add a 35,000 square foot addition to the arena, add luxury boxes, a new weight room and training room. It should be terrific!”
And the improvements won’t stop there. “A new stadium for soccer and lacrosse will be built where the women’s softball and tennis facilities are starting in October,” Driscoll said. “And, in a couple of years we’ll have new tennis and softball venues.”
All of these improvements are part of a series of infrastructure upgrades associated with Providence College’s new strategic plan. Private support has been the key to these initiatives which is something the school continues to solicit from its alumni and donors.
As for a new practice facility for the men’s and women’s basketball programs, nothing is happening yet. But, given the level of commitment to upgrade the athletic facilities at the school, could the idea of one be too far off?
For those interested in donating to the Alumni Hall renovation or any of the others, the school is asking that you contact Associate Athletic Director for External Relations Steve Napolillo at (401) 865-2677.
Driscoll also told GoLocalProv.com that season ticket sales for men’s basketball have gone well and, despite the economy, the season ticket base is stronger than it was a year ago. “At last check we were probably about 400 up from last year and that includes attrition,” he said.
There is little doubt that the excitement of this year’s recruiting class which included McDonald’s All-American’s Kris Dunn and Ricky Ledo energized the fan base. And, even though neither will be on the floor to start the season, Dunn is expected to play sometime this winter while Ledo has pledged his commitment to PC after he was ruled not eligible to play his freshman year. Ledo first told GoLocalProv.com of his intention to stay at PC for 2 years, a commitment he confirmed in a statement released by the school last week.
As always, fans seeking tickets can call (401) 865-GOPC.