TIFFIN -- After months of anticipation, the renovated Seiberling Gymnasium was officially unveiled for the first time this morning prior to the first Heidelberg volleyball practice of 2017. The floor-to-ceiling transformation included a total replacement of the gym floor, which was the original surface, installed in 1952.
"This will be a great place for student-athletes to practice and compete," said Athletic Director Matt Palm in his opening remarks. "It will also hold as a great facility for all students, the Heidelberg community, alumni, the Tiffin community and guests for special events, and for our future students."
The gym has been offline since mid-April, except for a brief spell in July while the Show Choir Camps of America used the facility.
"As a former player and now a coach, many emotions have been felt in this gym and I look forward to the impact it will have in the future. I can't wait to share to with our prospective students," said Head Women's Basketball Coach Morgan Harrigan. "We're only beginning to realize the impact it will have."
"To paraphrase Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, 'If you build it, they will come,'" Harrigan added.
After winning the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at home in 2015, senior Rachel Raimondo looks forward to making more memories in the new gym.
"Because of this renovation, we finally get to host our own tournament and it's something we look forward to," said Raimondo.
Inside Seiberling Gymnasium, Sayger Court is the home for the volleyball, wrestling and basketball teams. The venue is the home for all six HYPE Career Ready speakers, two Patricia Adams Lecture Series dinners and the Lichtman-Behm Genocide Awareness lectures.
"This project doesn't happen without the help of many people," said President Rob Huntington. "I'd like to thank the design team, the builders, and everyone else who made this beautiful renovation possible. We look forward to the value this will add for all of our students."
Following the opening remarks and the official unveiling, several athletes participated in the "ceremonial firsts" of the transformed gym.
First Serve and Receive: Rachel Stroski and Rachel Raimondo
First Takedown: Chris White and Noah Messerall
First Shot and Assist: Aianna Wilson and Cynthia Nielsen
First Flip: Mallory Paul
First Dunk: Mike Mason
An archived webstream of the ceremony can be found here.