Restored windows let sun in Gill Coliseum for first time in decades

Restored windows let sun in Gill Coliseum for first time in decades »Play Video

CORVALLIS, Ore. - One of the most historic sports arenas in Oregon has a new look -- thanks to some old windows.

The $3 million facelift to Gill Coliseum on the campus of Oregon State University is just in time for the building's 60th birthday. Money for the project came from a surcharge on OSU sports ticket sales.

For many of those years, however, the legendary basketball court was more like a basketball cavern.

"It was always dark, always kind of a little dingy," said Bob DeCarolis, Oregon State University athletics director.

Not anymore. The project includes new doors, a new paint job and new windows -- in place of old windows painted over in the 1960s.

Restoration of the 14 large picture windows allowed natural light to fall on Ralph Miller Court for the first time in years.

"It's a well designed building, and it's going to be around for a long time," DeCarolis said. "You see it on a piece of paper, and it's like OK, yeah, that looks cool, but until it gets up there, you really don't know and we're really happy how it turned out."

Design and Construction Manager Lori Fulton said the project had to stay true to the arena's historic nature.

"Part of the selection was that we'd get a system of windows so that the whole building really looked good," Fulton said.

Unlike the old block windows, painted over in the 1960s to block out the light, there is no glare with the new Gill windows.

Students like the new look.

"Yeah it just looked old, from a fan's perspective," said undergraduate football assistant Beau Walker, "and now it looks a lot newer and it makes things a lot better."

DeCarolis said all the changes done to Gill have really helped to restore the old "field house" look to the arena, but he also points out the changes are meant to be much more than cosmetic.

The arena facelift should help with recruiting, DeCarolis said. And for fans -- young and old -- the project should help restore the luster of an OSU landmark.

And what would the court's namesake, Ralph Miller, say?

"I see the light," DeCarolis said. "I think he would endorse it."