USF Sarasota-Manatee basketball court is ready for play

Workers finished USFSM's basketball court Thursday afternoon.

Workers finished USFSM’s basketball court Thursday afternoon.

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 26, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee students and faculty now have another recreational venue after completion this week of the basketball court at the campus’ north end.

Workers from contractor TCM of Florida this week applied the final two coats of green paint, white striping and the gold Bulls logo at center court. Work was wrapped up by late Thursday.

“I think it’s a big change for the university,” Student Government President Alex Benishek said Friday. “I’m very excited by this.”

Benishek said he envisions pickup games between classes, as well as clubs being formed for students and faculty: “Maybe they (faculty and students) could clash every once in a while.”

The total project involved two parts – the basketball court and a beach volleyball court at the campus’ west end that opened in April.

The basketball court, which was more complex, including fencing, lights, benches and water fountains, was delayed two months to allow workers to relocate a water line for the campus’ fire-suppression system. Crews were forced to wait a few more weeks for the court’s asphalt surface to cure before applying the final coatings, striping and “U”-shaped bull horns logo this week.

Funded by $260,000 in Capital Improvement Trust Fund monies – fees paid by students to support non-academic programs – the project came at the urging of student representatives who met with campus officials last summer. Administrators agreed to back the project.

“I still have to do a final inspection, but so far it looks good,” Kevin Taterus, associate director of facilities planning and management, said Friday.

Still unknown is how the court will be managed. Benishek said he favors an open system to give students easy access to the court. He opposes a signup sheet and says students should play on a first-come, first-served basis to allow for pickup games. Basketballs could be stored in a bin and the court locked nightly at 10 p.m. when the university closes.

“Hopefully, security will put a lock on the gate and make it part of their rounds when the university shuts down,” he said.

Taterus said no decision has been made about the lock. The court’s lights shut off automatically at 10 p.m., so there’s no incentive to lock and unlock the court each morning and night. He said he’s leaning toward keeping the court unlocked, “unless something happens and we need to lock it up at night.”

However, the ball storage bin could be equipped with a lock, he said. That would require students to be responsible for the key and keeping the bin filled. Public access to the court is not permitted due to insurance and other issues.