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Wildermuth reopens after 2011 fire


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By Sydney Murray




The Wildermuth Intramural Center reopened Friday after being closed for more than a year.

The roof of Wildermuth was being replaced in summer 2011 when it was accidentally set ablaze by a worker July 5, causing a three-alarm fire.

The 30,000 gallons of water it took to subdue the fire engulfed the facility.
It was later re-painted from floor to ceiling, except for the original brick.

“Students that haven’t been here the last 15 months have never seen this space,” said Jacqueline Puterbaugh, associate director for Campus Recreational Sports.

“I think it was a reasonable time for everything that had to get done. It was a big project.”

In November 2011, the Indiana Daily Student reported Wildermuth was originally supposed to re-open in September 2011.

The west side of the center reopened August 2011, but the majority of the facility remained closed.

Completion was delayed after experts assessed the damage and revealed it was more extensive than originally thought. Delays affected nearly all repair projects.

Puterbaugh said five basketball courts had to be replaced, and five were
refinished.

All the light fixtures, which were working at only 40-percent capacity, were replaced.
Glass was placed around the track to open the room. Pictures will be placed around the track featuring the different activities students can participate in at Wildermuth.

The walkway near the track was also revamped, and a cardio/circuit gym was added.  This will be open all day.

Intramural volleyball and basketball will both be played at the Wildermuth.

It opens at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday it closes at 9 p.m. but is open until 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

“Once the semester gets going, it’s packed,” Puterbaugh said.
 
Next summer, Wildermuth will close again for six weeks to finish repairs that were not completed before the reopening, such as replacing the track.

“It’s safe to use, but there’s water infiltration,” she said.
It cost a little more than $1 million to replace the roof,  said Thomas Morrison, vice president for capital planning and facilities, in an email.
 
The rest of the renovations cost several hundred thousand dollars, which was covered by insurance because of the fire.
 
Puterbaugh said the center, which was built in 1927, was the primary facility for Campus Recreational Sports until the Student Recreational Sports Center was built
in 1995.

“We’re very fortunate to have two facilities,” she said.

Graduate student Alaina Klene was checking university IDs Sunday morning.
 
“Ever since Friday, it has been booming with participants,” she said. “It’s great to see it get used.”

She said she likes seeing people’s expressions when they see the new center for the first time and said the appearance, cleanliness and smoothness of how everything runs has improved.

Ellettsville, Ind., resident Mick Hammett played basketball early Sunday
morning.

“It’s a great facility, just as it always has been,” he said. “It is unfortunate that it took so long to get redone.”

Senior Aldo Bottalla  was also playing basketball Sunday.
“I like the changes they made,” he said. “You can tell they took their time doing this, and it paid off.”

Freshman Taylor Alexander said he is already utilizing the facility.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’ve never seen so many courts in one place. I’ve already been here about three and a half hours.”

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The Wildermuth Intramural Center gym is pictured Sunday after construction necessitates by a roof fire in July 2011. Wildermuth was originally scheduled to reopen in Sept. 2011, but completion was delayed when expert assessment revealed more damage than was previously thought. As part of the rennovation, five basketball courts were refinished, and the center was repainted from floor to ceiling except the original brick. Caitlin O'Hara Buy Photos

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