The final chapter of Alumni Gym seemed perfect. After serving as the mecca of Elon basketball for 68 years, it was time for the doors to close on March 1, 2018. In the venue's swan song, Elon’s ninth president, Connie Book, attended her first ever game in her new position; Shay Burnett scored a triple-double, and women’s basketball capped off perfection at home, winning all 13 games on home hardwood. In Hollywood, a personified Alumni Gym would then ride into the sunset.
Alumni wasn’t completely shut down after that final game however. Alumni still played host to a number of non-athletic events such as ElonTHON, The Greek Week Dances, and it even played a part in the rain-dampened 2018 commencement exercises. But with the new kid in town, the 5,100-seat Schar Center, Alumni’s future has seemed uncertain. This has led some to speculate as to what will become of the arena.
On August 1, Larry Mellinger, the Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness, discussed what the future will hold for Alumni Gym.
The first major change came on June 1, when Campus Recreation combined with the Health Promotion and the SPARKS peer education program to become one department, Campus Recreation and Wellness. This change came as a result of several suggestions from Student Wellness & Well-Being Workgroup.
The second change came with the relocation of the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the volleyball team from the Koury Center, attached to Alumni Gym, to the new space in the Schar Center. This has opened space for the administrative offices for Campus Recreation and Wellness to move into that which was formerly occupied by the men’s basketball team and the ticket office. This change will not affect day-to-day operations for students, as they will still sign in to use Campus Recreation facilities near Jordan Gym.
Now on to Alumni Gym itself. The space was put under the scheduling control of Campus Recreation and Wellness on June 1. The space will play host to both men’s and women’s club basketball teams, as well as be the cite for intramural championship games. The old concession stand will now serve as the home for Elon Outdoors, where students can go to find out about upcoming programs and rent equipment.
Alumni Gym will continue to be the cite of some smaller campus events. Mellinger gave examples such as ElonTHON, guest speakers, job fairs, and some community events that could potentially take place at the facility in the short term.
In the long term, Mellinger said that the university is going to begin to develop plans for the space and the renovation of the Koury Center. Mellinger said the university is going to look towards making the space a place for “an integrated approach to wellness and well-being to potentially include recreation, wellness programs, health services, counseling services, academic departments, and other educational and social spaces.”
There is no timetable for when these “long term” plans will be created or put into effect.