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Rike Center in need of repairs

Renovations have been impeded by building codes and a lack of outside funding

After nearly 50 years on campus, the Rike Center needs renovations in key areas.

When the Rike was first built in 1974 for $1.5 million, its main features included a weight room, basketball courts and locker rooms, but after many years those attractions have been worn down by student use. 

Many students have shown concern for the weight room, which features eight different exercise options. “Some of the equipment is run down and most of the time, the weight room gets pretty packed,” said Declan Jewitt, a sophomore communication major.

Completed renovations like a new women's locker room, updated wrestling room, and refreshed basketball courts were all funded by outside donations. If there were to be any renovations to the weight room, they would need to be financed the same way.

“We're getting ready to do the men's locker room, but all of that comes from outside funding. There's nothing per se within a budget or capital project to upgrade anything,” interim athletic director Connie Richardson said.

Although there's currently no budget, that doesn't mean that Otterbein isn't planning future renovations. “The floor is on our list, that's overdue in being replaced, the bleachers would be a part of that, we talk about the weight room all the time, but once again it all has to come from outside resources,” Richardson said.

The Rike's domed structure makes it difficult to perform any renovations. Additionally, the facilities code Otterbein follows prevents structural changes, such as building or demolishing walls, from being implemented.

Even without a complete overhaul of the weight room, faculty are still paying attention to small things that are replaceable and need to be fixed. “I've really been depending on coaches and the football staff to tell me what we need, tell me what needs done and I will do the best to either fix it or replace it,” Richardson said.

When the university decided to move the room, they found a way to do so without significantly altering the structure. By designing and building glass walls, the university was able to construct a weight room in an open area next to the basketball courts. “We actually had funding for this from a family to bring it out there, once again it's structured like that, still really open, because we still have to make sure everything is up to code,” Richardson said.

“I'm really hoping that at some point in the future, even if I'm a student or not, that there's a new weight room added and it could be one of the more popular places for everyone around campus,” said Cael Dent, a sophomore communication major.

[Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, Declan Jewitt's name was misspelled. This error has since been corrected.]

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