New Bleachers

The new bleachers in the Fitzpatrick Arena. (Signal Photo/Jesus Valdez)

The Fitzpatrick Arena that hosts women’s and men’s basketball and also women’s volleyball at California State University Stanislaus, (Stan State) has gone through a major upgrade this past summer.

Aaron Allaire (Associate Athletic Director, Facilities and Game Operations) stated that the renovation was necessary because the stadium had to become modern.

“A lot of it was just needed, just outdated, so we needed an upgrade,” Allaire said. “We kind of have gone around and upgraded our other facilities, so we felt that it was time to try to upgrade at the arena because it is an older building so in lieu of trying to build a whole new building, which probably isn’t feasible, we just thought upgrading it would make a difference."

Allaire also added that the new changes were in three sections which were the bleachers, the floor and the lobby.

“There are new bleachers, and in one side of the bleachers there are certain number of seat backs that we could either use for VIP or just kind of a higher quality seat to sell at a higher rate,” Allaire said. “[It was] just a major upgrade in the seating itself. [Before], we had old, wood bleachers in there."

“The floor had been in for at least 40-something years, so wood floors tend to get dead spots and leave tracks, so having a new floor is nice," Allaire added.

Allaire stated that renovations to the Fitzpatrick lobby were also made to include a more modern touchscreen alongside Stan State's Hall of Fame and All-American players. 

“We post all of our schedules on that touchscreen," Allaire said.

Trophy cabinets for championship trophies and wall graphics were also added to brand the arena's logo and the school's athletes further, according to Allaire. 

Jordan Santa Maria (senior, Communication Studies) plays on the men’s basketball team and likes how the renovations turned out.

“I think the stadium looks great, and the floor is brand new, and the stands look awesome,” Santa Maria said. “We definitely have a top stadium in our league."

Coach Strickland stated that the reason why they chose the floor is to make it aesthetically pleasing.

“When we were looking at things we had a couple suggestions, and the lighter color wood is fabulous, and it really pops and makes the red pop," Coach Strickland said. “Everything is brand new, center court looks great with the new logo as well as the conference logos and the Stan State logos."

Coach Strickland also compared the new stadium to the same emotions a person would have to getting a new car.

“Who would not love having a great facility like this. It’s extraordinary, it gives them a sense of pride, and everyone likes new things,” Coach Strickland said. “It’s like we’ve been handed the keys to a brand new Mercedes, and hopefully we will play up to the level of the facility."

This project was planned for a while before being constructed, according to Allaire.

“We probably started thinking about it three maybe four years ago, and it was just kind of first get the flooring company to maybe get us designs of what it would look like, talk to some donors 'is this a possibility,' and secure and kind of narrow down companies.” Allaire said. 

“When we once decided to move forward with the main part of the arena, we thought it was time to work on the lobby, and so we worked piece by piece until this summer when the bulk of work was done," Allaire added.

Santa Maria believes that there is an added motivation factor to win due to the new arena.

“I would say that having the new arena makes it easier to play,” Santa Maria said. “You are always looking forward to playing in a nice gym, and I think having a facility like we do, we'll definitely be motivated to defend home court."

Allaire stated that the feedback regarding the renovation of the arena has been overwhelmingly positive with spectators.

“We’ve only had two volleyball games in there so far, but we have gotten really positive feedback on the seating, the overall look... more bright colors, [and] lighter colors on the interior walls, so it brightens up the whole arena," Allaire said.

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