WARWICK — The Community College of Rhode Island has embraced a plan that calls for the temporary, transitional use of a much-beloved 46,500-square-foot fieldhouse on the Warwick campus as a student services hub.

The athletic facility, a home for the junior college’s baseball and basketball teams, will not serve those teams after the college begins the transition for the summer and beyond, according to a spokeswoman for the college, Amy Kempe.

Instead, said Kempe, the fieldhouse in Warwick will eventually provide a temporary home, or “swing space,” for student services. Meanwhile, in June, the basketball and baseball teams will relocate temporarily to the larger fieldhouse on CCRI’s Lincoln campus, she said.

The need for a student-services area, she said, was outlined in a recent facility plan that identified the college’s “most urgent facility needs.”

Kempe acknowledged the college is not certain when the fieldhouse will return to its traditional use. The resumption of varsity sports in the fieldhouse will depend on when construction of a new student-services hub on CCRI’s Warwick campus is complete, she said. The college, she said, does not have a “long-term plan at this time” for the consolidation of all sports on the Lincoln campus.

One critic of the plan is a former CCRI athletic director for whom the fieldhouse is named.

Vincent A. Cullen, 85, told The Providence Journal that he worries about the college’s overall support for athletics and the repurposing of the facility.

“My big fear is that the students are going to lose out in this process,” said Cullen, who served as the school’s athletic director from the 1960s until 2002.

CCRI’s website refers to Cullen as “the architect of the college’s enormously successful athletic program.”

Cullen said he still has an office in the fieldhouse, which, with just two others like it, one at Notre Dame University and another at the University of Tennessee, were the only college sports facilities to boast a “tartan rubber floor” at one time. The fieldhouse’s floor supports a wide range of sports, from basketball to tennis, he said.

Cullen, who taught math on the campus, said he fears CCRI students who take classes on the Warwick campus will lack the time and transportation that’s necessary to make use of CCRI’s fieldhouse there. He also questioned whether the fieldhouse in Lincoln can accommodate so many sports.

Kempe said CCRI looked into the use of modular spaces to house student services on the Warwick campus during the upcoming transition, but the cost, an estimated $2 million, was “prohibitive,” she said.

The master facilities plan that is driving the push for a better student-services hub remains in draft form, said Kempe, who said she could not provide a copy for that reason.

Setting up student services in the fieldhouse is expected to provide a less fragmented, more structured environment for them once the facility is configured for that role. Kempe said the temporary student-services area is expected to begin accommodating students during the winter break of the 2020-2021 school year.