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A groundbreaking ceremony for the University’s $28.6 million state-of-the-art recreation center took place Oct. 1 at the center’s site at New Street and North Campus Drive.
Designed by Moody Nolan Architects, Inc. of Ohio and the Spiezle Group in Media, Pa., the new center “is going to be one of the campus’ most impressive buildings,” says Dee Giardina, the University’s Executive Director of Facilities, Design and Construction. “The current and past students who were involved in the planning over the years should be very proud.”
Diane DeVestern, Assistant Vice President for Students Affairs and a member of the center’s planning committee, agrees.
“We owe many thanks to former student leaders – our current alumni – who contributed their time and effort in working on the recreation center project so future students could enjoy such a facility,” she notes. “This new center will be a wonderful addition to student life, providing a gathering place that offers a wide variety of activities promoting wellness and a healthy lifestyle.”
When completed, the 72,575-square-foot facility will include a fitness center four times the size of the current fitness facility in Sykes Student Union.
Students who want to play basketball, volleyball, soccer, badminton or any one of a number of different kinds of hockey, for example, will be able to do so on a three-court gym with multiple floors to accommodate their preferences. Racquetball courts will easily be converted for squash players. Students who want to jog indoors will be able to take advantage of the elevated three-lane, mile-long track that circles the entire building, overlooking not only the gym and fitness area, but offering a panoramic view of the campus quad and Philips Memorial building.
There will be spinning rooms, meditation areas, social lounges and a “hydration” station with a refreshment area that includes a juice bar, where a glass and “green wall” will create indoor and outdoor terraces.
One of the building’s most dramatic features will be a three-story climbing wall located in the middle of the building where climbers will have a view of all the activity occurring around them. Its design and rough textured surface borrow features from both a climbing wall and a boulder wall with hookups for rigging and protective fall zones.
Two “green roofs” will cover part of the building, while much of the interior, including the track, carpet, and part of the gym floors will be made of recycled materials. And, in keeping with the University’s commitment to sustainability, the new recreational center will be tied into the geothermal system which eventually will heat and cool most of the University’s residence life and academic buildings. The system’s technology relies on the earth’s natural heat and needs no external fuels save a little electricity to distribute heated or cooled air throughout the buildings.
Construction is expected to be completed by August 2012.