Now the VIU Mariners will be able to create even more of a big-match atmosphere at their biggest matches.
Vancouver Island University’s gym is getting a significant upgrade this week as it is replacing all its bleachers. Once the project is complete, the seating capacity in the gym will be more than doubled to 1,600.
“The existing bleachers were ancient, uncomfortable and basically worn out, and also we didn’t have the capacity here,” said Bruce Hunter, athletic director. “When we did host a major event like a nationals, we had to go and find other bleachers and rent them and bring them in and it was a major pain.”
VIU was able to get a bargain price on the bleachers, which were originally used in the Richmond Olympic Oval. Hunter said it’s an example of an Olympic legacy.
“One of the great things about having a major sporting event like that is that things like this happen … that benefit people all over the province,” he said.
The bleachers’ plastic benches are coloured Mariner blue and will take up the same three walls of the gym as the old bleachers. As of mid-day Tuesday, six of the eight rafts of new bleachers had been installed. A hole had to be cut into the wall of the building to get the bleachers into the gym.
The gym will see a couple more upgrades this summer – the scoreboards will be replaced and the floor will be refinished.