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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Student Rec Center soon to receive major additions

    The new walls going up on the construction site east of the Student Recreation Center are an indication that the expansion of the facility is right on schedule.

    The foundations for the expansion of the Rec Center are in the process of being laid, and the construction is currently on target to be completed in November 2009. The expansion will include additional resources already available at the Rec Center, such as weight rooms and cardio equipment, as well as some new facilities.

    The biggest new addition will be the Multipurpose Athletic Court Gymnasium. The gymnasium will feature a “”dashboard system,”” an interior padded wall similar to that in a hockey rink’s wall, to allow sports to be played that are not currently accommodated by the Rec Center facilities.

    “”Students will be able to do a variety of indoor sports, from things like basketball and volleyball, which are already offered, to things like indoor soccer and floor hockey that require an interior wall,”” said Colleen Morgan, the facilities project manager for the expansion.

    Another major part of the expansion will be a 13,000-square-foot, two-level fitness room, which will be roughly three times as large as the existing fitness room. The room will include an outdoor mezzanine and new free weights and cardio and resistance machines.

    “”New and more will be the focus of the fitness room,”” Morgan said.

    The third building in the expansion will be a new headquarters for Outdoor Adventures, which is currently operating in a temporary location just east of the construction. Their former headquarters will be converted into the entrance to the new expansion.

    “”We had to get a couple big storage units for some of our equipment while we’re at this temporary location,”” said Craig Stockavas, an Outdoor Adventures employee. “”But we’re looking forward to the new building.””

    The buildings will be connected by a tree-lined outdoor courtyard, which will feature bouldering rocks, sand volleyball courts and tables where students can relax before or after workouts.

    As with all newly-constructed buildings at the UA, Morgan said an emphasis will be placed on making the expansion sustainable and energy efficient. The university will try to obtain a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the United States Green Building Council, a sustainable building organization that ranks thousands of buildings worldwide.

    “”Three to five years ago, it would have been a lot harder to get this rating,”” Morgan said. “”But now we work with the architects, engineers and designers to make these green decisions. Now it’s easy because we do those things anyways.””

    One way the new buildings will be energy efficient will be the use of natural light. The walls of the fitness center will be almost entirely glass, and the north wall of the MAC Gymnasium will be translucent, which is designed to let light in without the glare.

    Morgan said the new building will be green right down to the little details, from recycling excess construction material to only using renewable lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for the wood floor in the courts.

    The process to expand the Rec Center began four years ago when the Recreation Advisory Committee conducted a survey to gauge student interest in expanding the facilities. Shortly after the results of the survey were in, a referendum was passed to finance the expansion with a $25 per semester student fee.

    “”It was a student-run initiative from start to finish,”” said Juliette Moore, director of campus recreation.

    A “”soft opening”” is tentatively scheduled for the last two weeks of the fall 2009 semester, followed by a grand opening in the spring 2010 semester.

    “”The crew has done a terrific job moving things forward,”” Moore said. “”The walls are an indication that progress is being made.””

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