Clayton State Athletics prepares for next 30 years with major renovations
Fall 2018 | By Joshua Darling
In 28 years of existence, Clayton State Athletics has produced 131 national postseason tournament appearances, 18 Peach Belt Conference Regular Season titles, 30 PBC Tournament Championships, and 73 All-Americans. The latter represents the last two and a half years and includes three Academic All-Americans, led by women's soccer's Maria Marti Bartis , the only two-time First-Team honoree.
All this was accomplished by Clayton State’s student athletes in a building built in 1981 that was converted from a space used for roller skating prior to the start of the first Athletics season of 1990-91. Dark gym lighting, Boston Celtics style parquet court (right down to the dead spots), and shared locker rooms were the norm. And yet the Lakers established themselves as one of the premier programs in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region as well as on the national stage.
Now Athletics is about to see what dreams can be made with state-of-the-art facilities entering the 2018-19 campaign. In April of 2018 Clayton State Athletics, as part of the larger campus Academic Core project, began the first true renovation in the history of its primary building, The Loch.
The old shared and open locker rooms in the back of the building were cleared out, as were the men's and women's basketball locker rooms just off of the lobby. The lobby itself was emptied out of all the trophies and their cases, concession tables, equipment, and all fixtures.
It was to make room for some tremendous improvements that would benefit not only Laker student-athletes, but also their fans and those that work to support and promote them within the department.
All the old locker room walls have been knocked down in both parts of the building and ceiling tiles, as well as a wall adjoining the basketball suite, have been removed. Piping, duct work, office and classroom wall construction, and framing for all of the new areas were well under way in the spring.
A full-on construction zone that, come November of 2018, will see each team have its own brand new locker room that includes storage, tech, and a lobby area, will not only showcase the accomplishments of Lakers past and present, but also better serve Clayton State's loyal fans and alumni.
The new lobby will feature a much larger footprint that includes a permanent concession stand for the first time in program history. Situated along the wall that forms The Loch, and part of the area that housed the trophy cases, the concession stand will feature a roll down top and easy order, pickup, and payment options for fans.
Across from concession area will be a seating area with a backdrop of touch video screens so fans can check out the full history of Clayton State Athletics. Highlighting that area will be brand new, standalone trophy cases near the entrance to the lobby.
These will house the trophies that represent some of the most important accomplishments in the history of Laker Athletics, including the one that no one else in the state of Georgia or the Southeast Region can lay claim to–an NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship.
The lobby area will house one of two new classrooms as well as a changing area for visiting teams right off of the gym. The second of those classrooms will be located in a portion of the former footprint of the old weight room and will about two new office spaces.
That end of the building will also feature two new areas that will greatly factor into the recruitment and well-being of Laker student-athletes. In part due to the $60,000 donation made by OrthoAtlanta in September of 2016, a brand new athletic training area will be constructed and named in their honor in recognition of their generous contribution. This will aide significantly in performance recovery for Clayton State student-athletes throughout their careers.
The student-athletes will now also have a lounge just for them located in the footprint of the old athletic training space. This will include couches, chairs, televisions, and gaming systems that they will be able to use in their downtime.
This project, brought about in large part by the leadership of Clayton State University President Dr. Tim Hynes and former Director of Athletics Tim Duncan, has not only leveled the playing field for the Lakers with their fellow Division II competition, it has positioned them to continue to compete–and succeed–at the conference, regional, and national level as well as carry on a tremendous legacy laid down by those that came before them in the previous three decades.