East Stroudsburg University fieldhouse renovated 1 year after transforming into COVID-19 hospital

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EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — East Stroudsburg University’s fieldhouse was recently renovated. It will better serve athletes, but, more importantly help the community during emergencies.

Koehler Fieldhouse was built in 1967 and has had zero climate control for summer events, until now. While athletics and graduations will be much cooler, it will also help in future emergencies.

Just one year ago Koehler Fieldhouse at East Stroudsburg University transformed into a COVID-19 field hospital.

“It was just a crazy time. You know the whole mentality surrounding the virus at that time and the pandemic, it’s unchartered territory, unprecedented, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Gary Gray, director of athletics at East Stroudsburg University.

As days went on, the temperature outside and inside increased. Portable air conditioning units were brought in to help COVID patients and staff.

Monroe County Commissioners designated $1.3 million of the county’s $15.4 million CARES Act dollars to purchasing two massive A.C. units.

“During the summer we can have practices in here. But again, it’s intended to help us in the event there is an emergency in the community,” East Stroudsburg University interim president Kenneth Long said.

As a state instition, it has to be ready to serve at any moment. With the help of a PEMA grant, the college installed a $360,000 generator.

“If you can only imagine during the middle of a storm, we need to set up here but we need to bring a generator from across the state to be set up in the middle of a storm. Now with the generator it’s already here, flip of a switch we can already do it,” said Long.

Some other renovations: new lights, a Jumbotron, paint and a new floor after damage was caused during the field hospital operations.

“Very important to our program. The floor is great, the branding, we’re very, very proud of. But it’s very high performance floating floor, so we were very excited to get some repairs done,” said Dr. Gray.

Now, East Stroudsburg University plans to continue upgrades in the classroom so professors have upgraded technology post-COVID.

Plus, a community fundraiser efforts for renovations to its football locker rooms.

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