SALISBURY, Md.- Narrow hallways, low ceilings, and the underlying years of hard work are just some of the characteristics newcomers are greeted with upon entering the Maggs Physical Activities Center on the campus of Salisbury University. It is here that Seagull athletes prepared themselves for 20 national championships and more than 160 conference championships.
While the blue collar nature of the building has its benefits, many students and faculty feel as though it may be time for an upgrade. A petition was launched by students and administrators in the athletic department last month in an attempt to speed up the 10-year plan that was unveiled by the university prior to the start of the 2015-2016 academic year. Some of the highlights include the building of the new Academic Commons, the new Sea Gull Stadium, and renovations to the soccer, softball, and baseball facilities. The project is currently in its second phase and, if completed on schedule, is due to finish by the end of 2023.
While a new field house is in the plans for the project, many worry it will take much longer than expected to see it come to life. And that is what prompted some students and faculty members to do something about it.
“Once we have collected the petitions, which we are collecting through the month of February, we will then present them to the president of the University,” said SU Athletic Director Dr. Gerry DiBartolo. “Our goal is to show the importance of an improved rec center on campus.”
The petition is visible and ready to sign upon walking into Maggs. A statement displayed at the top of the page that gives those signing an ideas of what the goal is. The line reads:
As Salisbury University continues to evolve into one of the finest regional, comprehensive universities in the country and continues to improve and upgrade a number of its facilities, the undersigned implore the Salisbury University President to proceed, without delay, with plans to replace the existing Maggs athletic facility (a facility that no longer satisfies the needs and demands of the campus population) with a modern, air-conditioned, spacious fieldhouse and recreation center that would meet the current and future demands of the Salisbury University community and would be of equal quality to our academic and outdoor facilities.
Since its arrival on campus in 1977, the facility has undergone numerous renovations, such as inserting a new hardwood floor and air conditioning the main gymnasium, along with locker rooms for varsity teams and an expansion to the back portion of the building.
“We’ve done the best job we can to keep Maggs current and as usable as possible,” said DiBartolo.
“The basic issue is that we have a campus of 8,500 students. At the time Maggs was built back in 1977, we had no more than 3,000 students on campus,” he continued. “We’re now down to one recreation space for a much larger capacity, which is why I think we are long overdue for a new facility in the athletic and recreational department.”
DiBartolo also said that a second gym was in place of where Fulton Hall currently lies, known as Tawes gym. with the removal of this, along with the increasing student enrollment, Maggs is taking on more than it can handle.
“The gym just isn’t built for 8,500 kids. It’s outdated. It’s much too small,” said SU Head Mens Basketball Coach Andrew Sachs, who is a Salisbury graduate, and has seen the development of Maggs over the years.
“There has to be more than three courts- we have to have a practice facility,” Sachs said. “There are teams that share the courts. There is intramural sports. We need more room to accommodate everyone. Right now we cant practice at a normal time because the courts have to be shared.”
Both Sachs and DiBartolo mentioned how the new facility would get students and the community excited about the ability to get involved with recreation on campus.
“I think it would be just a wonderful addition to this campus, especially where students are active. They want to be involved, they want to do these activities, and we want to provide that for them,” DiBartolo said. “An upscale, modern facility would bring students in. And we want them in our facilities to do things that are good for themselves.”