April 5, 2012
Written by Vinnie James
A staple on the campus of Villanova University, the Jake Nevin Field House, recently underwent a major facelift as the final phase of a comprehensive renovation project was completed. The updates include replacement and redesign of the main floor, installation of a new scoreboard, update to the sound system, and replacement of the two main court baskets and four side court baskets.
The Jake Nevin Field House was built in 1932 and was renamed in 1985 after longtime Villanova Athletic trainer Jake Nevin. This facility currently houses the administrative offices of the Athletic Department, Ticket Office, the Athletic Training Room, equipment rooms, coach's offices, and locker rooms for the Women's Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Softball, and Women's Volleyball teams. The Jake Nevin Field House also serves as the home court for the Women's Volleyball team and host to intramural and recreational sporting events.
The planning for this project, spearheaded by Associate Athletics Director for Facilities & Operations Mick Keelan, began three years ago and the funding was secured last April. Assisting Keelan with the planning and execution of the project were Bob Morro, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management, and Leo Kolb, Villanova University Sr. Project Manager.
"Bob Morro was instrumental in securing University capital project funds for the purchase of the new maple flooring" Keelan explained. "Leo Kolb provided the Athletic Department staff with engineering and construction management assistance."
The renovations were done in three phases in order to limit the interruption of both the volleyball fall and spring schedules. In all, there were only four days during the entire project where the volleyball team was affected.
The focal point of the renovation, the replacement of the main floor, included a redesign of the layout to make the floor more catered toward volleyball and away from a basketball layout. According to Villanova volleyball head coach Josh Steinbach, "the players were really excited that the gym was set to be upgraded. The old floor desperately needed to be retired." Steinbach also expects to see this upgrade have a significant impact on recruiting going forward. "We've only had a couple prospective student-athletes on campus since the updates, but it isn't hard to see why those players have commented on our gym" he stated. "It's brighter now, it's sport specific for volleyball, and [we] expect that what has been a weakness for us in recruiting should now be a strength."
Even though the Jake Nevin Field House is nearing its 80th birthday, these renovations should make it one of the better volleyball facilities in the BIG EAST conference.
"Nevin has always been a great gym for volleyball," said Steinbach. "It's a smaller arena compared to most of our competitors and now with the scoreboards, sound system, and floor upgrades, it stands out as one of the top home courts in the conference."