The Cal State Bakersfield Icardo Center will have a new look for the 2011-12 athletics year.
An all-blue basketball court (painted in CSUB's primary color) should be installed by early September, according to Cal State Bakersfield athletic director Jeff Konya.
It will be a portable floor that costs about $75,000, Konya said. All monies for refurbishments and changes to the Icardo Center will come from private sources, not the state, he added.
"We had a need for that floor," Konya said. "There are so many dead spots (on the existing court), it's been sanded and refinished so many times.
"We decided to go with this portable floor. It was used in the NCAA Tournament and at another institution. We'll have 20 to 25 years of shelf life with it."
Another $30,000 has been earmarked to change the lobby area as one enters the Icardo Center, Konya said.
"We need to brighten up the lobby area," he said. "We've hired an interior decorator to do some cosmetic things."
One big change, Konya said, is converting the concession area to one that sells CSUB souvenirs and apparel. Apparel and other CSUB souvenir-type items have been available at the campus bookstore but not at any athletic events.
Concessions will be moved outside the Icardo Center, Konya said, with the goal of reducing the congestion common in the past, especially at halftime, when the lobby would be jammed with people waiting in line for concessions or to use restroom facilities.
The outdoor concessions could be manned by non-CSUB concessionaires "almost like the baseball field does it," Konya said.
And "hawkers" will be employed who sell food and drink items throughout the stands during events, Konya said. "Hopefully, people won't have to leave their seats to get nachos or a Coke," Konya said. "That should be up and running by basketball."
The bottom line, Konya said, is fans who haven't been to the Icardo Center for awhile will see a different look.
"One of the facts about moving the men back to Icardo, and some hesitation I've heard and think about myself: We don't want to go back to the future, back to a Division II facility.
"We want to make sure we're progressing toward Division I and improve our facilities so they are at that standard. These first couple of improvements will hopefully put us on that track."
Other improvements are needed, but more money must be raised to pay for them, Konya said.
Konya said there is a huge need to upgrade the men's and women's locker rooms, which will cost $100,000-$150,000 apiece. He added that his goal is to have the locker room improvements finished by the start of the 2012-13 academic year.
"You can look on-line at what our competitors have in terms of locker rooms," Konya said. "These are places where you encourage your athletes to come.
"It's their home-away-from-home, where they study, where they socialize. If it's not a quality place, we lose that. ... That's an area we're missing the boat."
Also on Konya's radar is improving seating at CSUB's baseball facility, Hardt Field.
That's more pricey -- "between $500,000 and a million, depending on what's chosen," Konya said.
That money hasn't been raised, he said, "but we have a couple of donors who have expressed interest in looking at those projects."
The lack of quality facilities (from a Division I perspective) was one of the key factors that shot down CSUB's bid at joining the Western Athletic Conference. CSUB remains a Division I independent.
"From the Division I standpoint, in terms of facilities, we have to be competitive in that market place," Konya said. "But no matter what division we're in, we must make sure the customer fan experience is the best we can make it. And we need to put our student athletes, coaches and staff in the best position to be as successful as we can be.
"It's time to enhance what we have."
In other CSUB tidbits:
* Konya said he hasn't heard if CSUB President Horace Mitchell will ask athletics to make further cuts to its budget for 2011-12.
Less than a month ago, Mitchell announced that athletics had made his requested $140,000 budget cut for '11-12. But further budget cuts to state monies have occurred since then.
"We just saw a 12 percent tuition increase (throughout the Californian State University system)," Konya said. "We need to see what those ramifications are."
* A job offer has been made to a candidate for the newly created strength and conditioning coaching position that will be added to CSUB's athletic employee lineup, Konya said. "Hopefully we'll get a positive answer shortly."
* Konya said head track coach Alan Collatz, who's official title is "director of track," will be hiring an assistant coach for cross country. Robert Boyles, who has been CSUB's cross country coach the last several seasons, was fired (although Konya prefers "contract not renewed").
* Chris Hansen, the director of swimming, has still not hired an assistant coach. "Chris is narrowing the candidates," Konya said. When asked about an assistant who focuses solely on diving, Konya said he is waiting for Hansen's recommendation.
* There's no word yet on assistants for volleyball and women's soccer. In volleyball, Jolene Shepardson is still listed as "interim head coach" and her husband, Aaron, is "interim associate head coach." Konya said he plans on meeting this week with CSUB's volleyball coach search committee and hopes for a recommendation from that group shortly.
* CSUB is in the process of shifting offices around for athletic personnel. Each of the basketball coaches, the head coach and three assistants for men and women, will have their own offices. In the past, the head coaches had their own offices and the assistants shared offices.
CSUB has even arranged for a downtown office to house several athletic dept. personnel.
"One of the issues I've heard is we're not connected with the community," Konya said. "Now we'll have seven individuals right downtown on a daily occasion."