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Paavo Nurmi Gym Gets A Facelift

Finlandia's updated gym.
Finlandia's updated gym.(Finlandia Unversity)
Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 6:31 PM EDT
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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) -

The Paavo Nurmi Gym has undergone renovations over the last year.  The gym, which was built in 1969, is home for the Finlandia University volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. In the fall of 2019, the roof over the gym was repaired.  This past June, Gabe Olson, an employee of Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area K-12 School District, came in to do some painting.  The ceiling over the court, walls and the support beams for the six baskets were painted black. Starting in mid-August the transformation on the floor took place.  Horner Flooring of Dollar Bay, which does floors for the NCAA and NBA, came in and sanded down and put a new design onto the floor.  Kyle Pihlaja, with Horner Flooring, worked with Finlandia on the design of the court back in 2017 and was finally able to put that design on the court this summer. None of this would have been possible without the support of a couple of donors, one of who wishes to remain anonymous and the other is Julie and Al Freis.  Al is a graduate of Suomi College and played basketball for the Lions (1974-76). 

Al Freis “It’s hard to believe that 45 years have passed since I was dunking basketballs in what seemed to be a spring-loaded floor at the Paavo Nurmi Center – especially now that I dunk a donut in my spring loaded Lazy-Boy chair.  I was a gym rat and estimate I probably took 150,000 shots before, during and after practice in the two years I played at Suomi College.  With the addition of the weight training facility, if the athletes, students at large and members of the community get a fraction of the enjoyment that I felt as a student-athlete – then it is our pleasure to support the improvements of the gym, including the gymnasium floor with the new NCAA requirements, U.P. and Finlandia logos.” Curtis Wittenberg – Finlandia Athletic Director"These improvements have been a long time coming, and could not have been done without the assistance of our donors.  I would like to publicly thank them for their donations to improve the Paavo Nurmi Center gymnasium.  I have known Al Freis for about 13 years and he, along with his wife Julie, have always been great supporters of Finlandia Athletics.  Finally, I would also like to thank the workers involved in this project.  This finished project turned out better than we could have imagined."

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