Carpenter Sports Building inspires teamwork
Known affectionately as "The Little Bob," this 167,000-square-foot building is the primary recreation facility on campus for students, staff and faculty. Included inside are the Harry W. Rawstrom Natatorium; two gymnasiums, including Barbara Viera Court (volleyball); student and employee fitness centers; racquetball courts; a rock-climbing wall; and locker rooms, as well as offices for athletics and recreation staff and Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences faculty and staff.
Named in recognition of the generosity of the Carpenter family, long-time benefactors and supporters of the University, the CSB serves as host to UDs volleyball and men's and women's swimming and diving teams and is a facility for UD club sports, intramurals and student, faculty, alumni and community recreational activities.
"It can be an adventure; things can change in an hour, depending on the crowd that we have," Rexell Miller, the head custodian who has worked in the building for 28 years, said. "Our motto is that the whole building belongs to all five of us. I wouldn't trade this for anything else." Miller was referring to the team of five custodians who work in the building, where the day begins at 5 a.m.
Teamwork in the complex is crucial. Carpenter Sports Building has a way of coming together no matter what your title is. I love working here! I work around good people," he said.
Bruce Pyle, building supervisor, said three decades of working at the CSB and countless phone calls to his home when alarms go off in the dead of night make him feel like the building's babysitter.
Pyle, who also teaches a spin class and organizes backpacking trips for students, said he enjoys working around students. "I've made friends with many students over the years, and they often come back to say, Hello. The students keep you young. My daughters love it because I keep up with all the fads and fashions," he said.
Delphine H. Lewis, a records specialist who sells locker space and guest passes and processes refunds, has worked at the facility for 13 years.
Staci Truitt, who has been the office coordinator at CSB for eight years, is convinced she has the most unpredictable job. In addition to managing the building's events schedule, which can number more than a hundred on busy days, Truitt processes applications and often has to rearrange events and discuss requests with students.
Kristin Davidson, AS '00, the newest member of the CSB team, said she instantly fell in love with her job when she became the fitness coordinator last year. "I love it, absolutely love it!" she said. "Great people to work with. We have a very good aerobics program.
Davidson's instructors teach a variety of classes, including belly dancing, kickboxing, Pilates and yoga to about 7,000 persons, mostly students, every semester. She coordinates four fitness centers throughout the Newark campus, substitutes for all the instructors and occasionally works on weekends.
Taylor Simpson, a senior history major who has been a fitness specialist at the CSB for four years, said he would not trade his job for any other. "In between the social stuff, there is a great amount of work that we have to do, but it's a great social environment," he said. "It's a nice job; it's very flexible around your schedule."
Besides providing personal training lessons, Simpson also does simple maintenance of fitness equipment and upholstery and runs mini-fitness centers in CSB satellite sites within the Harrington, Rodney and Pencader residential complexes.
"It's a lot of hard work, especially in the early part of the fall when freshman students come in," Goldston said. "It comes with many challenges that change from day to day, which keeps it fresh. Scheduling is one of the biggest challenges, but, it's a lot of fun, too. I love my job!"
Neil Kline has been unlocking the doors to CSB at the crack of dawn for more than three years. As the building supervisor for the 5-8 a.m. shift, Kline inspects the entire building to make sure it is ready for nonstop use and often winds up his day checking identification cards and swiping them through a counter at the main entrance.
Not only do we need to make sure IDs are valid, but we need a count to help us determine how best to offer services," Kline said. "It's a pretty active facility. There is something going on pretty much 365 days a year. I like the job. I really like it because you're among young people. It lightens you up. I enjoy it!"
The building is growing in popularity, Pohlig said. A record 418,913 UD card swipes were registered during the 2003-04 academic year, including June, July and August, compared to 386,000 during the same period the previous year.
"It's unusual when were not busy, Pohlig said. "We just expect it to be that way. I have a great team that knows how to run the programs and the facilities. We look out for each other."
Opened in 1942 as a recreational facility, storage area of military equipment and an indoor drill area for the ROTC, the CSB served as the home court for the UD men's and women's basketball teams until midway through the 1966-67 season.
The 15,000-square-foot natatorium, which underwent extensive renovations in 1996, includes an Olympic-sized pool, a diving well with 1-meter, 3-meter and platform boards, seating for approximately 700 fans, school and pool record boards, an electrical timing scoreboard and offices. The pool can be seen from windows located in the main corridor of the building.
In addition to UD home meets, the Rawstrom Natatorium annually hosts the Delaware Secondary School Athletic Association state high school boys and girls swimming championships, regional amateur meets and numerous conference swimming championships.
Article by Martin Mbugua
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