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After Fire, LMC Celebrates Re-Opening of Williams Gymnasium and the $2.5M Renovation

The pool inside Williams Gymnasium.

Williams Gymnasium on the campus of Lees-McRae kicked off its next big chapter during the Celebration and Preview event on Monday, August 28.

The celebration marked the end of a $2.5 million, seven-month project following a fire that damaged most of the building in February. The fire destroyed multiple offices, the laundry room and concession stand. Some amount of smoke damage was found in almost all other spaces in the building.

“The fire was absolutely devastating,” said Craig McPhail, vice president of athletics and club sports. “Especially for our coaches, staff and student-athletes who use the facility every single day.”

During the event, Lees-McRae students, faculty, staff, alumni and Banner Elk community members were invited to tour the new facility.

Some of the larger renovations included the weight-training room, film room, laundry room, gymnasium ceiling and the pool, which will welcome its first men’s and women’s swimming and diving team in the 2018-19 academic year.

Additionally, reopening of Williams Gymnasium served as an opportune time to redesign the athletics logo–introducing the redesigned Wily the Bobcat on Monday, August 7. Many of the newly renovated spaces in the Williams Gymnasium featured the new logo.

“We have risen from the ashes and entered a new era as one,” McPhail said.


Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, four-year college offering diverse baccalaureate degrees, strong athletic programs and outstanding faculty. Field-specific career preparation and hands-on learning enhance the broad core curriculum. For more information, please visit www.lmc.eduor call 828.898.5241.