West College of Education Gets New Gym


Colin Stevenson

Space was repurposed in Bridwell Hall to create a gym for the West College of Education, Mar. 10.

A new gym was built on the first floor of Bridwell Hall as an instructional setting for kinesiology and physical education majors. This is the first semester that the gym is open to students and instructors. In the past students would have to go to the Don Flatt Gym in the D.L. Ligon Coliseum, now those students can attend class in the West College of Education while still maintaining a gym-like environment. Stacia Miller, associate professor of kinesiology, said that the gym’s main use will be to teach students concepts that are crucial to their respective fields.

“The idea is that this would be a place where we can model best practice in the field of physical education and coaching and demonstrate those things with our students so that they see those kinds of things before they actually go out into the field,” Miller said. 

Miller said that the primary reason the gym was built was to give teachers and students a place to practice skills and model what a real physical education class might look like. She said it was difficult to do this in the Don Flatt Gym because that gym had to be shared with other groups such as cheer.

“There was a need for us to be able to model the environment that the kids in the k-12 schools have. We needed a space where we could do modeling and best practice, where students could actually put their own stamp onto the space. So that whenever we’re doing teaching methods and pedagogy kind of things, students can be in a space that is exactly like what they are going to see and use in the real world,” Miller said.

Construction for the gym began in spring of 2021 and this is the first semester that it is open to the MSU community. Supply shortages have been a problem that many construction projects across the country have run into during the pandemic. Miller said that this project was no different.

“I can specifically say that the floor was something we had to wait on. The facility itself was on time as far as the walls and the ceiling. That kind of stuff was on time but we did have to delay because getting the wood floors took more time because wood was kind of hard to come by,” Miller said.

The gym is still considered incomplete because it is lacking a projector and a few other technological aspects but Miller said those things are on their way. The gym has been released over to the West College of Education instructors but with the limitation of not having the proper technology for classes.

“Nowadays, as teachers we are required to model technology and then our students, as teachers, are required to use technology and integrate it into the learning. That is an important piece of best practice, is that we come in here and I show them, not just tell them what technology looks like, but show them what it looks like in the physical education and sport world. To me it’s still incomplete because we don’t have that key piece,” Miller said.

Although the gym was built for the students and faculty of the West College of Education, it can be used for other classes or activities as well. Miller said anyone that wants to use the gym will be able to schedule a time as soon as the missing technology comes in.

“It is a classroom space just like any other classroom on campus so it will be in the system to get booked like a classroom,” Miller said.

Shawnisay Millar, sport and leisure junior, said that in the past having class in the Don Flatt Gym was difficult due to having to share it. Millar said the new gym will be a great help in avoiding those kinds of interactions and is grateful for that.

“Sometimes that would be quite hard because sometimes it would clash, so sometimes the cheer would come in and we would still be in class and we would either have to leave or the cheer would have to wait. I’m quite grateful that we have that space over at Bridwell so that none of that occurs,” Millar said.

Millar has had the opportunity to use the gym for her elementary physical education class. Millar said that the new gym provides an atmosphere that you can’t get in a regular classroom.

“When we used it our teacher taught us a lesson that she planned for a third grade class and we would have to identify the organizational structures that she used during her lesson plan and stuff like that. So I believe that it’s a really good resource for students and teachers to explore because sometimes in a classroom you can only do so much so when we have that extra space we can really use that to our advantage,” Millar said.

Danielle Hardin, English education senior, works in the dean’s office in the West College of Education. She overheard a lot of the planning that was going on for the gym.

“It’s definitely going to provide hands-on practice for these students. Before they were having to walk all the way across campus, all the way to the wellness center, to do those practical, hands-on skills. Now it’s in the comfort of their own home, kind of,” Hardin said.

The new gym will allow kinesiology and physical education students to practice instruction, better preparing them in their future careers, Mar. 10.
The new gym will allow kinesiology and physical education students to practice instruction, better preparing them in their future careers, Mar. 10. (Colin Stevenson)