Next season, Occidental fans will have a whole new reason to cheer on Tiger athletic teams in Rush Gym. The facility is getting a $1.5-million facelift.

When fans show up next year, they’ll see new bleachers, a new floor, new paint, and new graphics," said Joe O’Hara, assistant director of plan, design and construction. "We’re pretty excited about it."

Renovations began in early June with removal of the existing floor and old bleachers. Some demolition and electrical work will continue through June. The month of July will be dedicated to the leveling of the gym’s sub-floor and the laying of the new floor. The gym roof will also be repaired to prevent leaks.

The total seating capacity in the renovated gym will be 1,451. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by mid-September.

Both Occidental’s men’s and women’s basketball teams were 2008 SCIAC conference champions. Next season, the women’s volleyball team will welcome new head coach, Mike Talamantes who has 12 years of high school coaching experience and over 400 career victories with 15 League Championships.

Built in 1965, the Frank Neill Rush Gymnasium honors a distinguished athlete and alumnus, Class of 1909. Rush, nicknamed "Speedy," played football and captained the track team before serving on the Occidental Board of Trustees for 48 years, including two terms as chairman.