Yates Memorial Field House could receive air conditioning in its main gym area this summer if the university board of directors approves a proposal in May, Yates Memorial Field House Director Jim Gilroy said.

Since there was no air conditioning in 1979 when Yates opened, the gym has installed air conditioning in individual areas over the years, according to Gilroy. While Yates’ locker rooms, dance rooms, offices and the Pro Shop are air conditioned, the largest main gym area is still without air conditioning.

“We have indeed received a lot of requests for air conditioning. It is our number one `suggestion’ [from members],” he said.

“I think [air conditioning] is the best thing ever to happen to Yates,” Will Bunnett (SFS ’03) said. “It’s always so hot there, they should do it as soon as possible.”

Katie Jennings (COL’05) agreed. “I think it’s wonderful they [could be] getting air conditioning because it’s always so hot and stuffy,” Jennings said.

Steel reinforcing of the gym roof will also be included in the renovations, according to Gilroy. Water leakage from the steel columns that anchor the building, he said.

Tully and Associates – the architectural firm that designed and built Yates – and Cagley and Associates – a local structural engineering firm – have agreed that installing a new set of steel columns at this time would be prudent, Gilroy said.

While Yates has not experienced structural problems in the past, Gilroy said they are taking these steps to prevent potential future problems from happening to the 23-year-old building,.

Other summer renovations include waterproofing the roof, which requires replacing the Astroturf that currently covers the area on Kehoe Field. “We absolutely need to [waterproof it] and to do that means taking up everything currently on the roof,” Gilroy said.

Construction will require that certain areas inside Yates be closed temporarily, Gilroy said to the university community in a broadcast e-mail. The indoor track, tennis, basketball, volleyball and squash courts, for example, will be closed temporarily before the semester ends. The multi-purpose room and the weight area will also be closed at one point. The indoor work, however, should be completed by June 7, Gilroy said.

“I do think that they should wait till classes are out before they start closing parts of the gym,” Jennings said. Bunnett disagreed, saying the changes should take place sooner rather than later. “Who cares if it disrupts anything? It doesn’t matter,” Bunnett said.

“While the indoor work being done now will be somewhat inconvenient, we are able to keep most of the building open and accessible most of the time,” Gilroy assured.

According to Gilroy, completion of the roof work is slated for fall 2002.

Those interested in the construction’s progress or in closure information can visit the “news” section of Yates’ Web site at www.yates.georgetown.edu.

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