January 12, 2004

New structure will sit atop P.E. Center

By Eric Rangus

A major capital project to fix the roof of the Woodruff P.E. Center is under way, and construction around the building will continue through November.

When the $8.25 million project is finished, the facility will be topped with a red-roofed, 80,000-square-foot structure that will house four indoor tennis courts, two multipurpose courts and office space.

Since the P.E. Center currently has seven tennis courts on its roof, three will be lost following the construction, but the net gain is positive for a building that has had its share of problems since it opened in 1983.

“It had a flat roof and drains would get clogged,” said Project Manager Art Platt. “And the skylights weren’t sealed properly, so they leaked.”

A feasibility study to fix the problems was first conducted eight years ago. After consultation with the architectural firm Rosser International, it was decided that the best way to keep water out was to place a new building on top of the old one.

Emory has many tennis courts scattered on the main and Clairmont campuses, but none are indoors. The new building will offer that. The multipurpose courts could be set up for basketball, volleyball, indoor hockey and even dance or exercise

Because of the work, building access is limited—the double doors on the Dobbs Center side of the building are closed, but should reopen sometime next week—but once inside, moving around isn’t a problem (save dodging an occasional scaffold or receptacle that has been strategically placed to catch water leaking from the ceiling).

“We’re doing very little to the inside of the building other than replacing the skylights,” Platt said. Since the new roof will be covered, skylights are not necessary, so workers currently are laying down the foundation of the new floor up above.

Once the construction is complete, a new red, metal roof will cover the P.E. Center. Platt said it has been designed with the Campus Master Plan in mind, and the roof will match similar roofs on Dobbs and Tarbutton halls. Unlike the current flat roof, the new one will be angled to allow for better drainage. An artist’s rendition of the final product is on display just inside the doors facing the Peavine Parking Deck.

The effect of the P.E. Center’s construction on Emory’s sports teams is minimal, but not insignificant. The men’s and women’s outdoor track teams cannot host any meets in 2004, although they still will practice on the track. Therefore, the March 26–27 Emory Classic will be held at Georgia Tech.

The defending Div. III national champion men’s and women’s tennis teams will be able to play home matches, but the women’s team, which was slated to host the national championship, had to give up the tournament.

The basketball teams, now in the middle of their seasons, and the swimming and diving teams’ home games and meets will not be affected. Full access to the P.E. Center’s workout equipment is still allowed, and classes will not be affected.