BOZEMAN – The gyms that collapsed at Montana State University are long gone. Bulldozers, big holes in the ground and construction have replaced them.
The gyms are gone. The work is far from over.
“Crews have been working on putting up a new east wall where the old interior walls used to be and they’re putting a new roof on top of a portion of the structure that we did preserve,” says Michael Becker, MSU spokesperson.
Work has continued, also, on temporary “bubble” structures, like renderings along the construction site’s chain-link fence show.
Temporary but sturdy.
“We’re going to have two what you might call bubbles or inflatable domes and those are going to house some multi-purpose courts that are going to be used for basketball and other court activities,” Becker says.
Temporary bubble structures has that word ‘temporary’ in there, but, according to Becker, once these are in there, they are going to be helping students for several years.
“It’s very important,” Becker says. “When we lost those gyms, we lost a lot of space that was used by an awful lot of users so having these spaces back in October, that’s going to be a major boon for our fitness center users.”
Meanwhile, the building leftover that once stood underneath the Upper Gym, the last building to be torn down, is getting new life, racquetball courts and other spaces included.
“That’s previously the floor of the Upper Gym, so that’s been converted into a roof,” Becker says.
And it’s all coming together quickly.
“That’s one of the importances for getting us motivated to move quickly with this project,” Becker says. “Plus, we want to start the year with facilities that our students can use.”
With the fitness center reopening its doors in the middle of August officially, Becker adds everyone will get a part of their routine back.
“Recreation is a very important thing,” Becker says. “The opportunity for students to recreate helps them feel like they are a part of the community, a part of the campus, and if they feel that comfort level then we hope that will help them stay in school and move themselves toward graduation.”
The inflatable bubble structures will be opening a little later than the fitness center, sometime in October.
Becker says the pool will remain closed indefinitely so crews can continue working to make its roof safe, too.
Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News