BY NICK JACOBS
The William A. Anderson Center, the University of Mary Washington’s new basketball and volleyball arena, is entering into its final stages of planning. The 2,000 person facility has been in the mind of Athletic Director Ed Hegmann for 19 years, and the vision is in the most developed stage it has ever been.
“We have been planning this project since 1989 when we identified the need,” Hegmann said. “There is no doubt that we need this thing. Our gym looks like a junior high school gymnasium.”
The new facility will feature a full size competition basketball/volleyball court, retractable bleachers, a concession stand, offices for all three sports and locker rooms for those sports and visiting teams.
In addition, an audio/visual control room will have the capabilities to produce concerts and events on a removable stage.
According to Hegmann, the original plan for the center was much greater than the current design.
However, it is the best attempt by University officials to use every bit of the $18 million budget. A bond issue approved by the state is going to support the construction of the facility.
“As years went on we had needs that were much greater, like the science center, which is true,” Hegmann said. “It was revitalized in 2002 under President Anderson,” for whom the facility is named.
“The plan in 1989 was going to have seating for 3000, have a 50 meter pool, and a 15,000 square feet weight room,” Hegmann added. “As of about 1997 it was obvious that we did not have enough money to build the big building.”
The University made a compromise and began construction on the fitness center and parking garage. Three years ago the projected cost for a new Natatorium alone was about $11 million, which prompted that addition to be placed on hold.
Hegmann and other university officials will be meeting today to revise the building’s construction schedule and to finish preparing working drawings of the facility.
Revisions to the schedule are being made to account for the nearly two months the project was delayed by the art and architecture review board.
“They kept arguing about the exterior of the building; how it looks; and how it fits in with the other buildings on campus and even how it reverts back to the bell tower,” Hegmann said. “It took forever to resolve those kinds of issues and that was the biggest slow down.”
All plans for construction must be submitted to the Bureau of Capital Outlay Management, which is a state engineering system that reviews and approves projects under state agencies.
“We are currently around 50 to 60 percent complete with working drawings,” Hegmann said. “Once we complete 100 percent of working drawings it goes back to Outlay Management and it could take a couple of months for them to review every nook and cranny, every line and detail, and every brick in the whole building.”
After Outlay approves the project, bidding for construction will take place at the end of 2008 or early 2009. The University hopes to receive a bid by February 2009 and begin construction as soon as possible.
Architects estimate that construction time will range from 16 to 18 months with the hope that the University will take over the new building by the fall of 2010.
Design of the new facility is headed by Moseley Architects who designed the main building of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies in Stafford County.
As of August 22, visitors to the UMW athletics website can access a virtual tour of the inside of the new facility. Links to the video are found under both basketball teams’ homepages at www.umw.edu/athletics