Plans are in place for students to enjoy future facility renovations for the Ruth Lilly Fitness Center (RLFC). According to UIndy Athletics, RLFC opened in 1984, and it is the center of the Greyhound Athletic Department. Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Young said the announced renovations include court, air conditioning and lighting in Ruth Lilly Fitness Center.
Associate Vice President for Athletics & Campus Wellness Bob Brubeck said there have been a few cosmetic things done in the past at Ruth Lilly, such as paint on the outside and the doors. However, according to Brubeck, those alterations were made several years ago, and these renovations should be much more apparent.
“I think the university saw a need; we really needed the air conditioning,” Brubeck said. “Ruth Lilly has needed an upgrade for some time. You hear the buzzing of the lights, and it’s the hottest place on campus, and oftentimes it’s cooler outside in the summer than it is in the gym.”
According to Young, these renovations started with the Board of Trustees wanting to honor Sue Willey, her time at the University of Indianapolis and what she meant to the athletic department. The new court is going to be named Sue Willey Court, similar to the Ray Skillman Court in Nicoson, Young said. This is where the concept began, and the university took that forward and combined the air conditioning with the new court, he said.
“It’s an honor of Dr. Willey and her retirement, it’s the first opportunity to bring her back for Homecoming next year and name the court after her and just give a little bit of time for the university to fundraise the additional dollars that we needed outside of what the university had to put in for the air conditioning,” Young said. “The court and the lights are being basically fundraised by the university, so that gave us some time to get that accomplished … [for] people that wanted to honor Dr. Willey.”
Brubeck said he thinks the air conditioning will be the most beneficial thing for everyone. Air conditioning in a gym is a huge piece because it helps the humidity for the gym floor, according to Brubeck.
“I do think it’ll help the classes as well. I mean, there are classes that are held in the gym itself, and then there are classes held in the classrooms at the top,” Brubeck said. “That should help those rooms, and the other units not be overworked, and [when] you leave the door open when the students are coming, the air conditioning units won’t have to be as tasked, so it should make the classes even easier to sit in.”
In terms of how this will affect the future of UIndy Athletics, Young said it is great for student-athletes. He said it will benefit volleyball, especially with their competition venue and basketball which uses that area for practice.
“That court is pretty hard and not very giving on the lower body, so it is really huge for our student-athletes,” Young said. “I’ve always been a big supporter that the court will go in before the air conditioning just because it impacts so much just with the physical aspect, but luckily we were able to do both.”
Brubeck said the lighting will be a big addition for the gym as well. According to Brubeck, the lights make it very loud in the gym and distracting for classes in the surrounding rooms, but now there will not be much noise to compete with when the athletes and fans are in there for games.
“I think it’ll be huge for our student-athletes for the practice venue … there will be considerably more bounce and it’ll be softer on the student-athletes lower extremities,” Brubeck said. “I also think it’ll look really good for recruits and things like that as we walk admissions tours through and things of that nature. And people in general walking through campus will see a gym that looks considerably nicer.”