Gymnastics team to move to McCown gymnasium

Lauren Saner, Copy Editor

Winona State University’s gymnastics team will be leaving their home in Wabasha Hall and moving into McCown gymnasium.

The cabinet gave final approval for a permanent wall going up in McCown gymnasium on Monday, Feb. 12. The gymnastics team’s former home will be torn down as part of  the Education Village project.

Scott Ellinghuysen, Winona State’s vice president of finance and administration, shared what those on the project had to look for in order to find a new space.

“We have explored a bunch of different options; we have explored off-campus options, we have priced out building a separate facility for gymnastics and that was two to three million dollars, which was beyond our ability,” Ellinghuysen said.

After realizing that off-campus facilities and creating a new space was not conceivable, there were ideas for what should be changed on campus.

The original plan was to put the gymnastics equipment in Talbot Gymnasium, which was not preferred by those who use the gym.

“As everybody started talking about it, academic departments, rec, intramurals, student wellness, athletics, everybody who is in those facilities down there, this idea of building a wall in McCown gym at ‘Court Six’ [was a better idea]. They would prefer to keep Talbot gym open and give up that part of McCown,” Ellinghuysen said.

Eric Schoh, Winona State’s athletic director, agreed with Ellinghuysen, saying that everyone who was involved with this project felt that losing

Talbot Gymnasium would be more problematic than losing one court in McCown gymnasium.

Court Six is the last court in McCown gym on the south side of the building, where the wood flooring stops.

After making the decision to put up some sort of wall for gymnastics in McCown, there was a discussion about what the wall should look like.

“On top of looking at other places for gymnastics to go, we explored other options for this wall, so we explored an accordion style wall, a curtain system, a ‘heavier curtain system,’ numerous options were explored,” Ellinghuysen said.

Schoh talked about where the idea for the wall originated, as well as McCown gym being the best place for gymnastics.

“The original concept came from our facility master plan which we did for the athletic department, where we looked at the best use of the space in McCown gym,” Schoh said. “There were a lot of people that looked at gymnastics where they are now and what’s the best place for them to go.”

There are also concerns of the chalk that is used for gymnastics of getting spread throughout McCown and into the ventilation system throughout the building. At one point, gymnastics was in Phelps Hall and there was chalk found throughout the building, because it’s a fine chalk that is easy to be moved around.

Facilities is going to attempt to keep the chalk from entering the ventilation system but nothing is set in stone.

The construction of the wall won’t begin until after spring commencement, so everything will run as planned until next fall. The construction will cost about $250,000 and will take four to six weeks to complete.

It will reach up to the catwalk on the ceiling of McCown gymnasium. As of right now, it is still being designed so there are no set plans for what the wall will look like, but the wall is planning to be up for next year.