Groundbreaking held for Tippin Gymnasium project

From staff reports

Clarion University hosted alumni, students, faculty, staff and local officials Friday afternoon to celebrate the official groundbreaking for the $42.7 million Tippin Gymnasium renovation project.

The project will result in a state-of-the-art facility that will serve as a hub for on-campus fitness and recreation focused on student health and wellness, and also will help attract future students and student athletes.

“Here we are as Clarion University’s 150th year draws to a close, celebrating a project that I think symbolizes our collective optimism for the future, for the next 150 years if you will,” said Peter C. Fackler, the university’s interim president. “Even as the university’s proud past gives us a well-deserved sense of accomplishment, we have confidence that our university’s best years are surely yet to come,” Fackler said.

“I am so excited for the changes coming to Clarion athletics, as this project is a commitment to our program, our institution and our community,” said Wendy Snodgrass, director of intercollegiate athletics at the university. “We are going to be here for another 150 years, and our athletic programs are going to thrive as a result of this investment.”

A total renovation of the existing gym will include a new entrance/lobby to the facility, complete overhaul of the basketball courts and seating, natatorium overhaul with a new combination swimming/diving pool, expanded areas for wrestling, new weight room, new locker rooms and a new auxiliary gymnasium.

Tippin will also receive new restrooms, a heating-ventilating-air conditioning system replacement and LED lighting fixtures.

Contractors for the project include Mascaro Construction Co., Renick Brothers Mechanical Contractors, Shipley Brothers Construction Inc. and Westmoreland Electric Services LLC.

DLA+ will oversee all aspects of architecture and design.

“The legacy of Tippin Gym is part of the fabric of Clarion’s history,” said Karen Whitney, the former Clarion president and current interim chancellor of the State System of Higher Education. “For more than four decades it is where student athletes have trained and competed, many going on to compete on the world’s stage,” Whitney added.

“This renovation is a testament to the investment Clarion is making in student athletes and further proves that Clarion is a thriving campus community where the student experience is a priority,” Whitney said.

Other speakers at the groundbreaking included State Rep. Donna Oberlander; Joy Dunbar, chairperson of the university’s Council of Trustees; Clarion Borough Mayor Daniel Parker; and Cameron Butler, vice president of the university’s student athlete advisory committee.