PAINESVILLE, Ohio—"A twister is about to touch down on the Osborne Center – but it's a good thing." That is how Lake Erie College Director of Athletics Reid Guarnieri teased the announcement of a facelift being done on the school's varsity gym today (May 11, 2017).
The project all started last summer when the Storm Athletic Department brought back to life its annual golf outing at the Little Mountain Country Club in Painesville. "As a department we set out very intentionally when we revitalized this important fundraiser. We all recognized that the facilities our student-athletes and the supporting community walk through regularly needed some exciting change," said Guarnieri.
Led by Coordinator of Athletic Development/Head Wrestling Coach Kevin Hoogenboom and Head Men's Basketball Coach Kyle Conley, the event was a huge success and through some great effort from the entire staff, enough funds were generated to do something significant. "It wasn't until we saw the fruits of our labor that it really set in that we could do something pretty amazing," said Guarnieri.
After a lot of deliberation and collaboration, the department proposed the idea of a makeover of the Osborne Center varsity gym to upper administrators who immediately approved the idea.
"After the President's inauguration, I knew even more that we were doing the right thing. We have been the Storm for some time but there was no specific spot on campus that truly represented that," stated Guarnieri.
During his inaugural address on April 7, President Brian Posler delivered a theme that centered on the Storm moniker and what it means to the history and future of Lake Erie College, suggesting, "While storms may rage around us, the nurturing spirit of our bucolic campus serves as an eye of the storm." Now, the most prominent illustration of this ideal on campus will be the unmistakable symbols of Lake Erie College – the beloved Stormy and the "Rage On" motto.
With a graphic design for the floor completed, the department received another boon in late April when Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Mike Piks garnered a donation from the Sherwin-Williams company for the delivery of paint for the gym walls. Additionally employed as contractors, Coach Piks and Coach Hoogenboom also offered up their time to spearhead staff efforts toward completion of what would become known as Phase One of the project.
Hoogenboom offered his gratitude on behalf of the College, "Coach Piks really deserves a lot of credit because he got this whole thing going. We are also so thankful to Sherwin-Williams for their very generous support of the Storm program."
Guarnieri concluded, "The timing of this could not have worked out better. As we move into the G-MAC, not only will we have made some changes to reflect our new association with it, but really will have, for the first time, forged an on-campus identity for our students and supporters."
All 17 Storm sport programs will begin competition in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with the 2017-18 academic year. A feature of the court redesign includes the new G-MAC logo and new banners welcoming in each new G-MAC member will also hang in the gym.
Once what has become known as Phase Two and the court work is completed, the new gym will reflect a 100% charitably funded enterprise. As people begin to witness the fresh look of the facility they will soon realize what President Posler shared about the College and its community: "We do not tremble before the storm, we are the Storm."
The Second Annual Storm Athletic Department Golf Outing will be held at Little Mountain Country Club on July 31, 2017. Interested supporters of Storm Athletics should contact Coach Hoogenboom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-375-7375 to sign up for golf or corporate sponsorship opportunities.