With a seating capacity for just over a thousand fans, it’s smaller than most Capital Region high school gyms. Despite its limitations, the cozy Hornet Gym — also known as The Nest — has been the main facility for NCAA indoor sports at Sacramento State since 1955.
But that’s about to change beginning this fall, school officials say. The Nest’s cramped quarters in Yosemite Hall has hosted everything from lectures and NCAA sports to rock concerts such as Jimi Hendrix (1968) and Sheryl Crow (1995, the night after she won three Grammys). Last November, just as the current basketball season was beginning, new Sacramento State President Luke Woods announced plans to move those events to the campus’ The WELL fitness and health facility.
The announcement came after board members for Union WELL Inc. and the university’s student governing body approved a resolution to provide up to $5.2 million for the project to cover initial estimated expenses.
“The (Union WELL) board’s decision demonstrates that we are on the rise,” Wood said in a November news release. “Sacramento State is the only public university in the capital of the state with the fifth-largest economy in the world, and we are acting like it.”
Seating capacity at the new events center is yet to be determined. The four courts at The WELL that currently host recreational and intramural sports will remain, but seating will be added that can be rolled out and retracted to accommodate larger crowds (presumably significantly more than 1,000) for NCAA competition. A public address system, new lighting, scoreboards and video boards will be added.
Meanwhile, The Nest continues its 2023-24 full schedule, with the men’s and women’s basketball teams playing their final games in the historic building. Next season’s facility status for volleyball and gymnastics, meanwhile, is yet to be determined. In 2008, The Nest’s gym floor was named Colberg Court in honor of 32-year volleyball coach Debby Colberg who retired after the 2007 season.
Chuck Myers of Gold River, a fan of high school and college basketball who attends games around the region, said he likes “the atmosphere and quaintness of The Nest,” but it’s time for the Sacramento State program to upgrade.
“Just like the (Sac State) football program has moved up, I think facility wise, it will help for the basketball team to move up as well,” says Myers, while attending the Dec. 18 game against UC San Diego. “I’ve been in the Well, so it’s hard for me to imagine how that’s going to work, but the new president (Wood) and athletic director Mark Orr seem to be real visionaries. Whatever the Well becomes will probably be way better than The Nest.”
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