SOMERS, Wis – The UW-Parkside Sports and Activity Center Bleacher Replacement project was approved by the UW Board of Regents along with the State Building Commission last week as one of four All Agency Requests. The De Simone Gymnasium Enhancement is an exciting project as part of RangerVision 2020, a facility and fundraising campaign launched by Parkside Athletics in March 2020.
“The De Simone Gymnasium Enhancement is an exciting and transformational project that will benefit Parkside Athletics, our institution, and our community,” said Andrew Gavin, Director of Athletics. “De Simone will provide a recruiting asset for our coaches, an incredible home for our student-athletes, and a first-class atmosphere for fans and visitors of our competitions and University events.”
This project, expected to be completed in Summer 2021, is important to UW-Parkside’s capital renewal focus as it facilitates replacement of the original telescoping, motorized wood bleachers with new code compliant units, and renovates adjacent space to create replacement seating and lounge areas to offset seating capacity lost by the required bleacher code upgrades.
The De Simone Gymnasium Enhancement has been significantly supported by partnerships forged with HARIBO and Educators Credit Union. In October 2019, UW-Parkside announced a comprehensive partnership with HARIBO, which included the creation of HARIBO Court at De Simone Gymnasium. In July 2020, Parkside and ECU agreed on a multi-year agreement as part of RangerVision 2020, a partnership that will create the Educators Credit Union Suite.
The current bleachers do not enhance event and game day experiences for spectators in the gymnasium as they do not have seat backs, have a narrow seating profile, and lack simple amenities such as cup holders. “The atmosphere that will be created in De Simone Gymnasium with the completion of RangerVision 2020 will be incredible,” head men’s basketball coach Luke Reigel said. “De Simone has always provided a homecourt advantage for Parkside Basketball, and it will continue to for years!”
Currently, the bleachers in De Simone detract from the recruitment profile for sports utilizing the gymnasium, as local high school gymnasiums have more modern seating than is available at UW-Parkside. “Our volleyball student-athletes will love practicing and competing in the enhanced De Simone Gymnasium,” head volleyball coach Leigh Barea said. “In addition to providing a high-level atmosphere for matches, De Simone will become a crown jewel for recruiting future Rangers.”
The gymnasium not only hosts regular sporting events but also hosts bi-annual commencement ceremonies for both UW-Parkside and Gateway Technical College. Project work includes removal and disposal off campus of the existing wooden bleachers along with furnishing and installing two new powered platform seating systems with seat backs to accommodate a reduced seating capacity of 1,676. The new seating systems will include new controls, self-storing railings, side curtains, with an ability to accommodate a media platform.
Parkside Athletics continues to generate financial support through RangerVision 2020 to assist with additional improvements and enhancements to De Simone Gym and to create two more transformational facilities, the Mark Olsen Indoor Golf Center and the Multipurpose Indoor Turf Center.
For more information about RangerVision 2020, visit uwp.edu/giving/rangervision2020.