If You See the Hawk, You Know It’s Home

By Marcia Faye
Scarlet Hawk
“Everyone just loves the big hawk’s head,” says Athletic Director Joe Hakes about the giant window decal of the IIT Scarlet Hawk that overlooks the basketball/volleyball court’s west window panels.

There’s just no missing the screaming red and gold hawk’s head window decal, with a beak raised skyward as if urging on its namesake IIT Scarlet Hawk basketball players to make just one more slam dunk. At a size on par with the replica skull of Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex at Chicago’s Field Museum, the Keating Sports Center’s courtside window treatment is perhaps the most distinctively visual enhancement of many completed at the center this academic year. Athletic Director Joe Hakes sees these improvements as bringing the center into the twenty-first century.

“Keating was built in the late 1960s when there were no female sports at IIT; athletic programs have changed much over the years,” he points out. “The average lifespan of a college gymnasium is just about 25 years; our building is about 50. We’re trying to grow into it by retrofitting and redecorating as much as we can. Many students today expect that college gyms will have more of a health-club feel. I believe that no student makes a decision about where to go to school based totally on the facilities, but it can be an eliminating factor.”

Simple but noticeable changes utilizing IIT’s hawk mascot appear throughout Keating Center, from Ekco Pool to a Scarlet Hawk-camouflaged storage closet converted from an old trophy case. This summer a newly designed floor is being installed on the basketball/volleyball court. Also, in a project with IIT’s Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation, plans are underway to install LED lighting throughout the center powered by solar panels erected on Keating’s roof last fall.

“I see what we’re doing at Keating as being an investment in a student-athlete’s college experience,” says Hakes. “When the center was built—and designed by a student of [Ludwig] Mies van der Rohe—a lot of small college gyms didn’t have this much space. What we’re doing now is better defining the space; it’s our interesting blank canvas. We want our teams to feel at home playing here.”

Marty Floor Rendering
The new look of the 12,000-square-foot Keating Sport Center basketball/volleyball court was strategically designed to present well during home game webcasts, with lettering and other messaging facing the camera.
Pool Wall
Framed archival swim photos have been replaced with the Scarlet Hawk decal and raised “Illinois Tech” lettering, an example of a simple but effective change that has resulted in many positive comments from alumni and other visitors to Ekco Pool. A new Scarlet Hawks scoreboard was also designed and erected earlier this year.
Weight Room
The Class of 2015 student gift went toward replacing a portion of the Keating weight room floor coverings. Much of the equipment in the room is in the process of being refurbished and new wall graphics are being added.
Stuart Field
Stuart Field, home of Scarlet Hawks soccer and women’s lacrosse, features artificial turf that was installed over summer 2013. The latest addition to the field is a new scoreboard.
Ed Glancy Field
Home to the Scarlet Hawks baseball team, Ed Glancy Field features a new scoreboard and backstop. A new press box with a permanent sound system and Internet accessibility to livestream games is next on base.