Samuel D. Logan
The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta State Blazer basketball program will open their regular season schedule on Monday in a double-header against Trinity Baptist of Jacksonville, Fla. The Lady Blazers will tip off at 6 p.m. and the Blazers will tip off at 8 p.m.
The Blazer basketball fans and even players will be in for a big surprise when they enter the famed arena “The Complex” on Monday evening.
The Complex opened in Fall 1982 and has held VSU basketball and volleyball games, in addition to other special events since then.
The Complex has been renovated a numerous amount of times since the opening, most notably in 2006, when the lower levels of seating were replaced with cushioned, arm-rest style seating.
The new renovations to The Complex should prove to be the biggest one yet.
Starting nearly two years ago, The Complex revamped the air conditioning system in the building. The air conditioning system used had been in place since the opening of the building and now features an all new system throughout the whole building.
“It had been around since ’82. In the summer, it struggled, so we had to get new ones, and it helped tremendously.” said Valdosta State Director of Athletics Herb Reinhard. The second phase of the current renovation project included a new concession stand, conference room, and the addition of two new bathrooms located on the upper level of The Complex. Previously, the building did not have any bathrooms located on the upper level.
“When people would be at games and sat at the upper level, it would be a task for them to walk all the way down the bleachers to the bottom, just to use the bathroom. The addition of the new bathrooms makes it more convenient for our fans,” said Reinhard.
The second phase of the renovations were completed in Spring 2013.
The current phase of the renovation project began in May 2013. This project included multiple new things for the building.
First included the addition of brand new locker rooms and bathrooms for the athletes.
The Lady Blazers and women’s volleyball programs will share a bathroom, but will have separate locker rooms in the Complex. The new locker room will also feature a separate team room for meetings. The Men’s basketball program also received new locker rooms as well, and will feature all new furniture throughout the locker room, in addition to their own team room also. The new locker rooms and bathrooms are 30 percent larger than the previous ones in the building, that had been used since the opening of the Complex.
“The renovations give the players a lot more space in the locker rooms,” said Reinhard.
The Valdosta State men’s and women’s tennis teams will move into the old men’s and women's basketball locker rooms.
In addition to the locker room project, the current phase of renovations also included changes to the lobby and bottom floor of the Complex.
Brand new tile flooring will now cover the lobby of the P.E. Complex, in addition to upscale bathroom renovations.
The four downstairs bathrooms are fully renovated, making them more comfortable for fans to use.
Also in the lobby area will be a brand new trophy case and new paneling has been installed. The paneling has a new hard wood finish, similar to that of a basketball court.
Inside the gym, new red columns were installed and also fresh paint covers the walls on the mezzanine level.
Athletic team photos will be placed in the new lobby area, framed through the hallway that fans can see as they walk. Also in the lobby, VSU will display basketball All-Americans and Hall of Famers on plaques.
“It’ll be a more visible way to display our award winning, legendary athletes to others,” said Reinhart.
A big screen television will also be installed in the lobby to broadcast messages, games and upcoming events in the Complex.
“With basketball starting on Monday, its working out well. I think we will have everything up and running, ready to go,” said Reinhard.
The cost of the locker room project was $300,000. The tile portion of the lobby alone cost $50,000 while the whole lobby renovation, including the new wall panels, cost a total of $140,000. The trophy case itself was $32,000.
The funding for the renovations came from university funding and did not include any funding directly from the athletic department.
The new season of Blazer basketball proves to be more exciting than ever with the new look of the Complex.