Overcrowding at the Weede
Zach Wagner | Sports Writer
For Pitt State student-athletes and coaches, the phrase “Packing the Weede” has a negative ring to it.
Pitt State’s track and field coach Russ Jewett says the congestion during indoor training has become a regular occurrence while athletes are practicing side by side.
“We have had a few problems in the past,” Jewett said. “In one instance while we had some of our runners practicing hurdles, we had a basketball roll onto the track. It happens on both sides, though. A couple of times we’ve had one of our shot-put balls roll onto the basketball court during practice.”
The 40-year-old indoor athletic center is part of the university’s Master Plan, a campus building program that is set to take place in the coming years. The Weede building is slated for $12 million worth of improvements, $3 million of whcih will cmoe from students. Some of those funds will finance renovating John Lance Arena.
Pitt State senior point guard Courtney Tate has had first-hand experience with the congestion around the arena during practice.
“When we’re practicing, I hear and see the runners actually jumping into a mat laid up against the stands, just to stop themselves after sprints,” Tate said. “It’s not incredibly annoying, but it just shows how much of a lack of space we have.”
Along with improvements to John Lance Arena, the plan would add a 300-meter track surrounding the first indoor football field on Pitt State’s campus. Along with Tate, junior Pitt State runner Adam Volkert says that the renovations would greatly benefit the programs that have to use the building.
“There’s quite a bit going on when we’re running around the track,” Volkert said. “Along with watching out for the throwers, we also have to keep an eye out for any other people practicing.
“When we have more than two sports practicing there, it gets cluttered quick.”
Expansion of the Weede would also help the Student Recreation Center, says Vince Daino, director of campus recreation.
“The Student Rec Center is currently the only place students in intramurals or looking to get exercise have since the Weede is often occupied,” Daino said. “Along with taking a lot of stress off the rec center, the expansion overall is going to be a win-win for a lot of people.”