Mac says farewell

By Emily Howland

A record number of fans are expected to crowd the gymnasium tomorrow for a series of events to commemorate the 84 years the building has served the community. The last remaining vestiges of the building will be cleared out of the building after the weekend to prepare for its demolition in February.
The last men’s and women’s basketball games in the gymnasium are Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. Saturday’s commemorative events begin with an alumni basketball game at 10 a.m. and an M-Club luncheon at 11:30a.m.
Alumni who played varsity basketball or volleyball at Macalester will have the chance to take one last free throw on the court at half time of the men’s basketball game.
“It is a nice way to recognize the last time,” Director of Athletics Travis Feezell said.
All fans will receive commemorative programs with old pictures of the gym, as well as a commemorative T-shirt and other tokens of remembrance.
Feezell said he thought the Macalester community would miss the gymnasium the most of any part of the building because it is small, intimate and has character.
“Not a lot of people say boy, I’m really going to miss the field house or the weight rooms. People are not as connected to other spaces,” Feezell said.
Captain of the women’s basketball team, Callie PaStarr ’07, said she is sad to see the gym go as she prepares to play the last athletic event held on its floor.
Farewell events continue into the night with the Welcome Back “Let’s Get Physical” dance taking place in the gymnasium from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Themed as 80s gym, or spandex and colorful polyester, there will be a hula hoop contest, a tug of war, limbo, 4-square, and wheelbarrow races with prizes for the winners.
“I think the gym/sports theme of the dance and the games that are planned alone will help to commemorate the gym and just the spirit and costumes that students will be wearing will pay tribute,” said organizer Jenny Chon ‘09.
Dances in the gymnasium used to be common until Kagin Ballroom was built and offered a better space, according to Allison Greenlee, Assistant Director of Campus Programs.
The dance will conclude the commemorative events but athletes will continue to use the space for practices through the week.
As far as construction, Feezell said everything is on schedule at this point. The new gymnasium will have two courts and seat twice as many people.
The building, renamed the Macalester Athletics and Recreation Center (MARC), is scheduled to open in August of 2008.