By Jennifer Kwan
If you’ve ever wondered why the lone cameraman filming varsity games in the bleachers above the Kerr Hall gym never has anyone up there with him, it’s because fan attendance at the games is poor.
It seems to be a prime spot for students to sit during games, but it looks like screaming, stomping fans are going to have to get used to making conversation with fellow spectators, because the gallery won’t be open to the public anytime soon.
Chuck Mathies, Ryerson’s assistant director, says that unless the size of the crowd dictates it, the gallery will stay closed.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Mathies said. “We’ve made management decisions to close off the gallery because unless the gym is filled to capacity, seating that area is not conductive to the overall look and feel of a sports event.”
Mathies wants to see the crowd moving through the admissions area and sitting closer to the floor level. He feels a small group of spectators scattered throughout the gym does not create a great sense of community, not does it warrant the resources needed to man the gallery.
“There is a separate entrance to the gallery,” Mathies said. “In the past, we’ve caught people from the community sneaking up there. If we opened up the gallery we would have to use additional staff to control the area.”
Last March the athletics department invested $30,000 in portable bleachers to bring fans closer to the action. They’re expecting to bring two additional portables by the end of the school year to create an amphitheater effect in the gym.
“The additional bleachers will be put at the north and south end of the gym,” Mathies said. “They’ll also be lower than the existing portables.”
That puts the investment of portable bleachers close to $50,000.