Wake Forest hosts first Hard Hat Tour

Some prominent alumni, staff  and select students received a behind-the-scenes tour of recent campus construction.

Representatives of Campus Recreation led alumni through the first ever Hard Hat Tour of the Reynolds Gymnasium renovation on Saturday, Sept. 16.

The tour included stops in both the Sutton Center and Reynolds Gymnasium, which allowed 20 alumni to learn about the timeline for the renovations as well as view the construction up close. Because Reynolds Gymnasium is considered an active demolition job, all tour participants had to wear hard hats.

“With these tours, we want to share what amenities are going to be available as well as the impact they will have on the campus community,” said Max Floyd, Director of Campus Recreation.

The 45-minute tour, which began in the Sutton Center and ended in the Outdoor Pursuits office, was led by Floyd and student representatives of Campus Recreation.

“I am glad that I get a chance to see the gym before construction is finished,” said junior Patricia Zárate. Zárate is one of students who will lead hard hat tours throughout the semester for interested parents and students.

Future hard hat tours will mainly occur on weekends when there is a home football game.

Shana Hurt, who graduated from Wake Forest in 1995 and from the School of Law in 1999, was among the alumni on the tour.

Hurt formerly served as the graduate assistant for intramural sports while in law school and thinks that the renovated Reynolds Gymnasium will be a great addition to student life on campus.

“I am excited about the opportunities and space that students now have that we didn’t have when I was here. This new gym is a reflection of the school’s continued investment in the health of their students,” Hurt said.

After plans were drafted in September of 2014, the Reynolds Gymnasium renovations were divided into three phases.

Phase one was the construction of the Sutton Center, which opened in January of 2016. Phase Two focuses on the renovation of the original 140,000 square-foot Reynolds Gymnasium and is expected to be completed next fall.

“We’ve kept the bones of the building and are renovating the inside, because the gym is in a prime location and has nostalgic value,” Floyd said.

This construction project has been no small feat. Construction workers have removed 500,000 bricks and 605 tons of steel so far.

Upon the completion of the renovation, workers will have logged 470,000 total man hours.

The Phase Two renovations, which are overseen by Frank L. Blum Construction Company, will bring many noticeable changes to the exterior of Reynolds Gymnasium.

The new entrance to Reynolds Gymnasium is being redesigned to match the entrance of the Sutton Center with tall windows and a single doorway.

Additionally, bricks have been removed from exterior walls in order to install more windows that will bring natural light into the new facilities.

There will be many changes to the interior as well. A hallway will connect the upper floors of Reynolds Gymnasium and the Sutton Center, which are currently separated. Reynolds Gymnasium will also house the Office of Wellbeing and Student Health Services.

The renovations will also create spaces for varying types of fitness. Currently, there are 50 machines in the Miller Center, but the renovated Reynolds Gym will be able to accommodate 200 machines.

Additionally, both upper gymnasiums will include a multi-activity court intended for intramural use. These courts will feature high-impact walls with rounded corners and built-in alcoves for goals used in handball and indoor soccer.

After Phase Two is completed, renovation of the pool will begin and is expected to be completed in March of 2018.

“We want this to be a hub, a gathering spot where students can come to decompress and recreate together,” Floyd said.