Dormant gym put to good use

University Turns Athletic Facilities into Classrooms

In late winter 2019, the world was hit with a virus called COVID-19, which is a respiratory virus that can be spread through coughing, sneezing and talking to someone in close proximity without a mask.

The virus reached the United States in early Spring 2020 and with it life hasn’t been the same. Most universities in the area had to shut down and finish the spring semester online by using video services such as Zoom and Microsoft teams.

Waynesburg University decided to move its classes online the week after St. Patrick’s Day. All classes were moved online and the rest of the spring sports season was canceled.

Once classes were moved  online and completed, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference decided all fall sports in the 2020 season would be moved to the spring of 2021.

With the fall semester approaching and CDC guidelines requiring people to wear masks and maintain a distance of six feet away from each other at all times, one of the questions coming into the semester was how would the University have students in classes while maintaining social distancing.

The ideas of using the auxiliary gym as a classroom and sometimes the Rudy Marrisa Field House began to form. Both are now used as classrooms because they are larger areas and allow for social distancing.

“The idea of using the gymnasiums came to mind over the summer,” said Assistant Provost for Online/Distance Learning and Curriculum Development, Dr. Evonne Baldauff. “It was perfect because it helped us with freeing up spaces so we can continue to keep our students safe.” 

The gymnasiums then led to other facilities such as the conference room on the third floor of the Stover Campus Center, the Goodwin Performing Arts Center auditorium, and the Marsh Center located underneath Roberts Chapel. 

“The ideas of using all of the bigger rooms on campus fit perfectly in with our Keeping Waynesburg Well plan,” Director of Pathway Center, Brian Carr said. “The hardest part of this idea was finding out which classes will be in those special classrooms, which once we found that out everything else moved smoothly because that then opened up other classrooms that we could put other classes into while practicing social distancing.”

After two weeks on the campus of Waynesburg University, these measures have worked out in accordance with the ‘Keeping Waynesburg Well’ plan.