Romano Gymnasium has housed UMD men's basketball for over a half-century and women's basketball and volleyball for nearly the past four decades. Romano Gymnasium officially opened with a 73-72 UMD men's basketball triumph against Gustavus Adolphus College on December 12, 1953 and received its last face-lift in 1986. In addition to hosting UMD NCAA Division II athletics program, Romano is home to the Recreation Sports Program, is a teaching space for the Department of Applied Human Sciences, and is used for other institutional events as well as community outreach programs.
The 2,759-seat Romano Gymnasium has certainly been a hospitable home for the UMD volleyball program. The Bulldogs have won an impressive 86.2 percent of its matches in that facility since 1977. The Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament 14 times under head coach Jim Boos. In addition, UMD has also turned in eight perfect home records to date (including a 15-0 mark in 2012). The Bulldog volleyball team packed a record 2,441 fans into Romano Gymnasium on Nov. 1, 2011 to watch UMD do battle with arch NSIC rival Concordia University-St. Paul, which shattered the previous largest turnout of 2,312 on Oct. 30, 2007 between the same two schools. Romano Gym was the site of both the 2007 and 2013 NCAA Division II Central Regional Volleyball Tournaments (the Bulldogs finished second in each of those two events).
Both the men's and basketball teams have posted .750 winning percentages at Romano Gymnasium as well.
The facility received an extensive $2 million upgrade following the 1986-87 season and was renamed in honor of the late Ralph Romano, UMD's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics from 1969 to 1983, in February 1988. In 2013 UMD added a top of the line full color and motion graphics Daktronics LED scorer's table display and 2017, a new 14' x 20' Daktronics 6 mm videoboard was installed at a cost of $300,000 funded through the generosity of loyal Bulldog Athletics Benefactors.
When the shift from Old Main to the current campus address began, Romano was the second building to anchor UMD's upper campus.
Known then as the Physical Education Building, it opened officially with a men's basketball win over Gustavus Adolphus College on December 12, 1953. This was an era when Dwight Eisenhower was leading the country and the first color televisions were being sold to American households.
Fast forward 63 years, and this same space now features a $300,000 Daktronics HD videoboard that was installed as part of the first phase (which began in August of 2017) of the three stage renovation plan. It's enhancing the game day experience for both fans and student-athletes with game feeds, replays, campus features, and updated statistics.
The men's and women's basketball locker rooms are also being renovated as part of this phase as a result of the generosity of both program's basketball alumni. Approximately $75,000 was raised from dozens of donors to fund this component of the project.
- Daktronics HD Videoboard: 14' x 20' Daktronics 6MM videoboard was installed at a cost of $300,000
- Men's & Women's Basketball locker rooms
UMD is working on the second phase of its effort to modernize Romano Gym. Phase Two includes a new NCAA competition grade wood flooring, enhanced lower level seating with back support, aisle mounted hand rails and increased ADA capacity, new high-end floor mounted basketball standards and volleyball equipment, and a new climate control system- including air conditioning and humidity control that will improve playing, teaching and patron conditions. These projects will address safety issues while concurrently improving the experience of the many facility users and fans that attend intercollegiate events.
Additional theming and Bulldog points of pride will be enhanced throughout the facility celebrating UMD's school colors, the Bulldog mascot and the three varsity program's history and traditions of excellence.
"The improvements demonstrate the Athletic Department's commitment to make UMD one of the premier Division II athletic programs in the country for our Bulldog student-athletes," says Volleyball Coach Jim Boos. "In addition, it allows our coaches to have even more to show recruits, on top of the countless other great attributes that UMD and Duluth have to offer."
Constructions is expected to start this spring/summer and be completed by October 2018.
The Romano lighting upgrade will:
- NCAA competition grade wood flooring
- Enhanced lower level seating with back support
- Aisle mounted hand rails and increased ADA capacity
- High-end floor mounted basketball standards
- Climate control system- including air conditioning and humidity control
- Additional theming and Bulldog points of pride
- Improve lighting quality!
- Reduce energy consumption: saving 33,420 kWh per year! (equal to reducing the electricity use from 3.5 homes annually)
- Reduce the carbon footprint of the building, saving 24 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year! (equal to taking 5 passenger cars off the road for a year!)
- Reduce maintenance costs (including saving $2,600 annually on electric bills!)
- Reduce the wear on gym floors from equipment needed to replace bulbs in lighting fixtures.
Will feature a club room providing an upscale patron experience as well as significant updates to the Romano lobby area and atrium entrance to the gymnasium. In addition, renovation of the women's volleyball, women's soccer, softball, baseball, track/cross country, and football locker rooms are on the Phase Three to do list. Additional locker room renovations are planned for more Bulldog Division II programs in coming years. Fundraising opportunities also exist to support the Bulldog Athletics Training, Rehabilitation as well as the Strength and Conditioning Facilities.
Get involved with the Romano 2020 project please contact Senior Development Director for Athletics Gary Holquist at [email protected] or 218-726-6185.
- Club and Hospitality Room
- Lobby and Atrium Updates
- Women's Volleyball, Women's Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Track/Cross Country and Football locker room renovations
- Bulldog Athletics Training, Rehabilitation and Strength and Conditioning Facility Upgrades