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UW-Parkside rededicated De Simone Gymnasium on Tuesday night as they continue to enhance their athletic vision. The gym and practice court were part of the rededication this week as part of UW-Parkside’s Ranger Vision 2020.

On Saturday, UW-Parkside rededicated one of the practice courts to former women’s basketball coach Jenny Knight-Kenesie following a doubleheader at De Simone Arena. Knight-Kenesie served as head coach of the program from 2002-13 with a record of 195-125 and led the Rangers to five NCAA Division 2 tournament appearances as well as leading UW-Parkside to the Sweet Sixteen twice. 

“With this whole campaign and these projects, we were really excited about how we could connect this proud history of our past with what is going on currently with what we wanted to do to make progress for Parkside,” UW-Parkside athletic director Andrew Garvin said. “The opportunity to honor Coach Knight-Kenesie was something our women’s basketball coach wanted to do, I wanted to do as well as a number of alumni and supporters wanted to do.”

On Tuesday night prior to the Men’s Basketball game against Clarke University, UW-Parkside renamed De Simone Gymnasium as De Simone Arena. Among the renovations was the Behr Club behind one of the baselines as well as the Educators Credit Union Suite as well as renovations to the stands. 

UW-Parkside announced the Ranger Vision 2020 in the March of 2020 days before the COVID-19 pandemic started. Even with the pandemic, athletic director Andrew Garvin was able to still get funding and make the renovations for De Simone arena happen including help from local businesses like Educators Credit Union, Behr Real Estate, and Haribo

Educators Credit Union agreed in July of 2020 to a six-figure multi-year partnership to support the project and a couple of months later agreed to pay their donation in full. Their donation helped keep the renovation on schedule. 

“We would not be standing here with this beautiful facility and with the Educators Credit Union suite if not for their generosity,” Garvin said. 

Men’s Basketball coach Luke Reigel was hopeful, but skeptical when the project was originally presented to him, but he is now glad that the renovations happened. 

“We needed these improvements,” Reigel said of the improvements. “This doesn’t happen if he (Andrew) doesn’t keep pushing even through the pandemic as he kept getting out in the community and meeting people. He kept finding all the generous UW-Parkside partners as well as people that had not been involved in UW-Parkside athletics before, and the reason that we’re here is because they believed in this vision.”

Chancellor Debbie Ford thanked Garvin for the incredible vision of Ranger Vision 2020, as well as their corporate partners, the contractors, the architects, the faculty and staff at UW-Parkside as well as the UW-Parkside Foundation Board.

“They have been great supporters in building the relationships and helping us to network to find those partners across our region that believe in the mission and vision of UW-Parkside,” Ford said. “You helped us to bridge the funding needed to make this construction possible this past summer.”

UW-Parkside Athletic Director Andrew Garvin
UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford
UW-Parkside Men’s Basketball Coach Luke Reigel
UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford talks at the De Simone Gymnasium rededication ceremony.
UW-Parkside Men’s Basketball coach Luke Reigel gives his thoughts on the rededication of De Simone Arena.

About UW-Parkside

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. UW-Parkside is a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.