San Marcos,
16:25 PM

Sports Center will be Rallying Point of Pride

By Matt Berson

Anyone who has purchased a new car knows the feeling—it doesn’t feel like yours until someone hands you the keys.

The Cal State San Marcos Department of Athletics shared the sentiment this March when the keys to the brand new on-campus arena, The Sports Center, were handed over from PCL Construction.

“We’ve been sitting in on these planning meetings for so long, at least two years, so for PCL to give us the keys and say ‘here you go’ was a special feeling,” said Morod Shah, associate director of Athletics, Facilities and Operations, and director of The Sports Center.

The exchange consummated years of planning and signaled that after 13 months of on-site construction, the building was ready. The 25,000-square-foot facility, equipped with spectator seating for 1,400, a ticket office, student-athlete locker rooms, coaches offices and a student-athlete lounge promises to be another hub of student-life at CSUSM. In addition, it will serve as a center of entertainment and educational programming while showcasing CSUSM’s educational mission and providing a rallying point of pride for North County.

Originally slated to take 18 months to construct, the design and construction teams were able to complete the project early, allowing the Department of Athletics ample time to get the building ready before it opens publicly on September 1 for the first home volleyball match of the 2016-2017 season.

Until then, Shah and his staff are preparing the systems associated with The Sports Center. Things like: student-athlete check-in, equipment storage, ticket purchase processes, concession set-up, inventory, intramural and open recreation scheduling, and much more. Hiring student staff to run daily operations of the building is a top priority.

Open tours of the building are available every Friday morning, and many members of the campus community— students, staff, faculty, prospective students—have taken the time to walk through the new digs.

“The number one thing people say when they walk in the gym is, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was this big!’ It doesn’t do it justice until you walk in and you see the massive size of the facility. We can only imagine seeing what it’s going to be like on game nights with a packed house,” said Shah.

When applying for NCAA Division II membership in 2014, building athletics facilities suitable for a NCAA Division II program became a top priority for the campus. CSUSM had been playing volleyball and basketball home contests at off-campus sites and practicing at a local Boys and Girls Club.

“Not having an on-campus facility has been our missing link to a fully operational Department of Athletics. Now that The Sports Center is complete, we are complete as a department,” said Director of Athletics Jennifer Milo. “Completion of an on-campus gym facility was paramount to acceptance into the CCAA and the NCAA. I am so proud of the state -of-the-art facility that we have built here at home.”

In July of 2014, CSUSM Athletics heard the news that it had been accepted into the three-year NCAA membership transition process and the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The CCAA consists of 11 other California State Universities and UC San Diego. If everything goes according to plan, CSUSM will be a full NCAA Division II member by fall 2017.


Become a season ticket holder today and don’t miss an opportunity to root on the Cougars to victory!

Packages start as low as $125 for men’s and women’s basketball. A volleyball season ticket plan is available for $150.

For more information on season tickets and to reserve your spot in The Sports Center, please visit