first court redesign in 11 years
BREVARD COUNTY, MELBOURNE • FLORIDA – Florida Tech’s Clemente Center court just received a facelift for the 2020-21 athletic season. This is the first time the floor has undergone a redesign since May 2009.
The home court of the Panther volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams has a new design that features a two-tone playing surface, new Florida Tech branding, and a silhouette of a space shuttle launch, which extends nearly the width of the court.
The image of the shuttle harkens back to the shuttle era and acts as a timeless reminder of the university’s and the region’s space heritage.
Additionally, it serves as a symbol that is rocketing us forward into the future of space exploration where we will seek to find answers and new worlds.
“We are all very excited about the new look to the Clemente Center Court,” said Interim Athletic Director Pete Mazzone, who is in his 35th year at Florida Tech.
“We usually update our courts on a 10-year cycle, this time being 11 years as we released new branding that we wanted to incorporate in the redesign. The addition of the new LED lights just installed two weeks ago in the Clemente Center; people are really going to appreciate the beauty of this court.
“This new design just makes sense with the history of the university and the space program. It really is just perfect timing that we release this court now as momentum around space exploration begins to pick up again. This court becomes a symbol and helps us identify with our past and future in space. We are the Space Coast. It is very exciting for the teams that are going to play here, our students and the fans.”
John Reynolds, who has been a part of the women’s basketball program since its inception 35 years ago and served as head coach the past 34 seasons, is excited to get his team back on the new floor.
“I’m sure our players will be as impressed with the new look to our home court in the Clemente Center as I am,” said Reynolds. “I want to thank all of those that worked so hard on this project. I can’t wait until we can get our team back on it.”
Billy Mims, who enters his 16th season as head coach of the men’s basketball team, is excited about the transformation of the Panthers’ home court and what it means to the community.
“The Clemente Center has always been the largest basketball facility in Brevard County, but now it might just have one of the most beautiful courts in the whole country! I know our players are all looking forward to getting back to campus and playing on it. It has the modern look and feel of the styles used by NBA teams and some of the top NCAA arenas in the country.
“We are a proud member of the Space Coast of Florida, and the court design highlights our link to this community and the space program. Combined with the new lighting, our fans will love watching games in Clemente this season.”
Florida Tech has a rich history with space flight.
Dr. Jerome Keuper, the founding president of the university, established Brevard Engineering College in 1958 to offer educational opportunities to NASA scientists, engineers and technicians at Cape Canaveral.
The University, whose motto is Ad Astra Per Scientiam (To the stars through science), has been the home to numerous others who have left a footprint in the realm of space exploration.
Five of Florida Tech’s alumni have served as Space Shuttle astronauts. Additionally, three members of the university faculty have also been to space.
From start to finish, the installation of the Clemente Center’s new court design was a six-week process that included four stages, 1) sanding down to the natural wood, 2) applying the walnut-color stain to create shuttle silhouette, 3) placing design, logos and lines on varsity and intramural gym floors, 4) varnishing the surface.
The project began during the first week of April 2020. Florida Tech enlisted Impact Sport Surfaces, Inc., based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, for the project.
The impact has worked with numerous professional and college sports organizations, including the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, UCF, Florida Atlantic University, and Nova Southeastern.
The first regular-season competition on the new surface belongs to the Panther volleyball team and ninth-year head coach Amy O’Brien, who is anxious to get her team on the court.
“Our new floor looks great! I’m so excited for our team to be the first team to be competing on our new gym floor. It’s modern, sleek, and coincides with our location on the Space Coast.”
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