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Massari in full gear

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massariopening2.jpgAfter construction delays and lengthy planning, the Massari Arena re-opened on Friday with students, staff, faculty and community members in attendance.Both the men’s and women’s CSU-Pueblo basketball teams hosted Western New Mexico Highlands for the grand re-opening night. The women triumphed 91-48, and the men also won, 83-70.

In honor of the grand re-opening, the event planning staff arranged for the Denver Nuggets’ mascot, “Rocky” to perform during both half-time shows.

“Rocky” interacted with the crowd, handing out T-shirts and also included the Thunderwolf cheerleaders and mascot in his stunts.massariopening4.jpg

During the women’s game, players from the men’s team signed autographs for fans and friends from the university and the community.

“We don’t do this all the time,” Brain Sewald, a senior EXHP major said. “But when we do, it is great for the kids.”

Sewald, number 33, is a forward for the Thunderwolves.

In addition, Chris Childress, a senior business management major said he also enjoys interaction with the fans. Childress, number 15 is also a forward for the Thunderwolves.

massariopening3.jpg“It’s nice to see a smile on the kids’ faces,” Childress said. “You can tell they’re having fun.”

Along with the evening sporting events, the wall climbing area was open to the public for everyone to try. The wall climb will be open year round with hours that will be later specified by Massari staff.

Associate Director of Athletics Niki Whitaker said there will be designated hours for usage of the racquetball and basketball courts, aerobics room, weight room and the swimming pool which is projected to be completed by the end of the summer. Even though hours are not certain yet, Whitaker said the Massari will be accessible seven days a week.

In particular, the weight room will be opened in the beginning of March, and a work study position will be arranged so that someone will be there at all times.

Students will also have free access to the Massari amenities.

“Besides students, members of the community are also welcome to sign up for a membership,” Whitaker said.

Also contributing to the event planning and organization, senior mass communications major Keith Leach is the athletic marketing intern for the spring 2008 semester.

He encourages students to fully utilize the Massari’s new features.

“Everyone should come and try it out,” Leach said. “There is something for everyone here.”

For students to feel comfortable, he suggests that students come in groups and experience the new gym with friends.

In addition, Leach said students should definitely come to the home basketball games.

“There aren’t many home games left in the season,” Leach said. “So, people need to get out here and see the teams play.”

Other new features in the Massari include two new concession stands, athletic offices, classrooms for EXHP courses, ticket booths, locker rooms for teams and students and a banquet room which imitates a sky box. This room is intended for alumni and donation contributors, Leach said.

The Massari Arena has three floors and has a newly installed elevator.