The university and athletic department will soon be forming a committee to fine tune guidelines for use of the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex (GISC) , including availability for student use.
The committee will be co-chaired by Athletic Director Dave Williams and Director of Athletic Facilities Mike Halloran, but President Robert Vartabedian is still in the process of designating committee assignments.
“There’s a lot to talk about,” Williams said. “First of all, it’s a very unique building. It’s unlike any other on campus.”
Unique not only to Missouri Western’s campus, says Halloran, but for any school of Western’s size in the state of Missouri. The university boasts the only indoor sports facility of its kind, which is what drew the Chiefs training camp there last summer.
“Literally a day after we were handed over the building the Chief’s camp started,” Williams said, “So for about 45 days we were 100 percent committed to running the Chiefs.”
After training camp ended, the fall semester started and left the university without the time to discuss guidelines for use of the facility. “We’re still trying to work out the details of how this thing works,” Williams said.
Currently the building is not available for open use by students, meaning students can’t go and use the facility without being a part of a university organization. The committee plans on discussing this issue, and designating days that the building will be open to student use. Halloran says that Tuesday and Thursday afternoons will most likely be designated as these “open-rec” times.
Halloran said that no one benefits from the building sitting empty, and if there is no group scheduled then he would prefer to have students using the practice field and indoor track.
“If it’s available and there’s nobody using, we want them to use it,” Halloran said.
Before that happens though, the committee needs to decide the rules for the students, along with who is going to handle security during these times, funding, insurance, and other issues.
Although the facility is not currently available for open use, it is used by students in other ways including intramural athletics and classrooms that use the building’s auditoriums and viewing rooms. Wonda Berry, campus recreation director, is in charge of intramural athletics and says that Halloran has been very open in allowing an intramural flag football league to use the indoor practice field.
“We’ve had some dates that we’ve had to cancel due to weather outside with thunder and lightning and he’s been really good so far to work with us on those dates,” Berry said.
If the intramural league was unable to use the facility it was because of scheduling conflicts, not out of worries of damage to the facility.“They are very adamant on making sure they take care of the facility, and I don’t blame them in that,” Berry said. She says that enforcing rules and responsible use is key to maintaining the quality of any athletic facility on campus.
Another big issue that the committee will discuss is the rental fee charged to non-university organizations that are using the building. Halloran said the projected operating budget of the indoor sports complex is $400,000-$450,000 per year, and as an auxiliary funded building he is responsible for covering these funds through rental fees. Currently the fee is $1,500 per day, but Halloran says the committee will review this number and make changes if it deems them appropriate.