Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Pressure on PepsiCo


Every Monday the thundering of footsteps can be heard clashing with the hum of the treadmills and the pounding of basketballs throughout the PepsiCo Recreation Center.
Multiple factors, including weather and increase in intramural and club sports, have lead to an increase in use of the facility, especially during the last five weeks of winter term with a tight schedule.
This winter PepsiCo extended its weekday hours to 11:30 p.m. to manage club, intramural and athletic practices. PepsiCo, which houses the pre-season training for lacrosse, soccer and track and field, has felt the strain of the winter conditions.
“Obviously with the colder weather, that’s going to draw people inward,” said Director of Campus Recreation Don Umland. “This winter has been worse than others, so that puts a greater strain on the building.”
The increased use of the facility brings forth the discussion of the amount of people using the facility at once, the status of the building as a recreational facility or an athletic facility, as well as the age of the building and need for renovation.
For the men’s track and field team, practicing in a 19-year-old facility means the pressure isn’t just competitive, it’s physical. With 5,000 pounds per square inch of pressure every time a runner plants his foot, the state of the PepsiCo indoor track is a concern.
While there are many variables involved in sports injuries, the team has seen an increase in injuries due to the age and tight turns of the indoor track.
“We have considerable injuries because of the hard floor, and that’s with already avoiding it (use of the indoor track in PepsiCo),” said men’s track and field coach Paul Olsen. “We would like to be here twice a week and we can’t do it. It’s too hard on them.”
Umland hopes to gain the funds to renovate the facility, making it a safer and more attractive facility for students and the Rock Island community. He also is firm on his stance of the use of PepsiCo.
“There’s definitely been a change in position on how this building is going to be used,” said Umland. “It is still, unequivocally, a recreation first building, always will be. However, we have evolved over time to really help out athletics.”
While athletic teams get preference during the wintertime for the prime scheduling time of 4-8 p.m., spring term will renew the times back to the clubs and intramurals to their original fall term scheduling.
Umland hopes to replace the floor, track and curtains in the recreation center, not only to better facilitate Augustana’s growing use of the center, but also to enable athletics to continue their winter use of the facility for pre-season training by next year. The estimated cost of the replacement is upwards of $700,000.
However, according to Vice President of Enrollment, Communication & Planning Kent Barnds, this project will not take place for at least another six years due to renovations and other building plans for Westerlin Residence Center and the Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts.

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Pressure on PepsiCo