Renovations in McPhee have some looking for alternatives

As the UW-Eau Claire gymnastics team prepared for nationals, it was forced out of its usual practice space in the McPhee Center and relocated to the Twin Cities. The inconvenience came as a result of the renovations and construction going on at McPhee throughout the semester.

“[The gymnastics team] was kicked out over spring break,” senior team member Kristi Olson said.

The vault runway went out of the gymnastics room and right out into the construction and the facility didn’t have running water, Olson said.

The Ade Olson Addition and several rooms in McPhee have been the only areas open during construction. The dance room, weight room and aerobics studio have been the only rooms opened this semester, said Terry Classen, director of Facilities Planning and Management. Most of the construction will end this summer, with the rest of the rooms opening in late August.

Since starting renovations, Classen said that asbestos was found in the ceilings, mostly in mechanical rooms. A certified asbestos technician was hired to remove it and Classen said there was never any health risks associated with it.

“It was disturbed during renovation . and before it was covered,” he said. The asbestos was in the ceiling and couldn’t have affected anyone, he added.

Classen said most of the renovations are in heating, plumbing, electrical, ceiling and flooring. McPhee was at an age where it needed to be redone, he said, adding that there was not one thing in particular that caused the initiation of construction.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” he said.

Students are going to notice the new ceilings and flooring the most, especially in the big gym.

“The large gym is getting a new wood floor which will be very nice,” Classen said, adding that almost everybody uses the big gym for physical education and the volleyball team uses that space as well.

The gymnastics team hosts a camp every summer that’s been forced to cancel, as well as the Blugold Gymnastics Program. The program gives lessons to four to 18-year-olds in the community and won’t start up again until fall. Olson hopes this won’t affect business, but sees it having a negative outcome.

Even though major renovations weren’t made to the gymnastics room like the team had wanted and despite the many inconveniences it has caused the team, Olson said the construction will ultimately benefit McPhee.

“It’s worth it because McPhee needed to be updated.”