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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rec expansion set for 2010

    Students will soon have their answer to long lines at the Campus Recreation Center – the new Rec Center expansion facility is set to open spring semester 2010.

    Construction to expand the Rec Center is well underway and planners with Facilities Design and Construction say the new design is set to be completed in November 2009 and will be available for students in early 2010. Total costs for the new 56,000-square-foot facility will exceed $27.5 million.

    The expansion to the Rec Center is based solely on student funding so it remains unaffected by the current UA budget crunch, Campus Recreation Director Juliette Moore said.

    UA students have been paying a $25-per-semester Rec Center Bond Fee that has been added onto tuition since 2005, Moore said.

    “”What affected us was inflation and the rising costs of construction,”” Colleen Morgan, project manager of facilities design and construction, said. “”The budget concerns do not affect the building.””

    With the pending completion, Moore said that the fees will expire in 2011 for the existing Rec Center bond payments.

    Morgan said that the expansion will feature plenty of new options for student activity while maintaining a very energy-efficient design.

    New amenities include a multi-athletic court, an extended and enlarged fitness facility, sand volleyball courts, a “”boulder climbing”” outdoor area and plenty of patio and grass space, with wireless Internet, to relax and enjoy the Southwestern climate.

    “”Designers have done a phenomenal job of giving us a facility which will not only be great for students, but for meeting staff’s needs,”” Morgan said.

    The 8,900-square-foot multi-athletic court will occupy a large space on the south side of the new facility and will be an all-in-one area for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and floor hockey, she said.

    Walking through the courtyard of the new facility, it’ll be hard to miss the large display of kayaks, canoes and camping gear.

    Morgan said the south side will house an area for Outdoor Adventures that will expand from its current closet-size space to almost 3,000 square feet.

    “”It will be a much better facility for them to run this Class-A operation,”” Morgan said.

    New space in the expansion will allow them to better showcase their services and gain student involvement in their more than 35 trips annually to places like Colorado, Mexico, Baja (Calif.) and Peru, she said.

    “”If you don’t have a tent and want to go on a camping trip, you can rent one out for very cheap,”” Morgan said. “”They have been working effectively out of a closet in the existing Rec Center. The new facility will hold much larger space just for them.””

    Just north across the courtyard will be the newly expanded fitness center, visible to the outside world through large glass windows.

    “”The view from Sixth (Street) will be like a billboard for fitness,”” Morgan said. “”A light, airy glass building, which speaks to the way we see fitness – in a dynamic, new wave.””

    Two levels, a first and a mezzanine, will occupy the new 38,000-square-foot area. She said the new fitness facility is roughly three times the size of existing 13,000-square-foot weight and cardio rooms.

    “”It’s a great metaphor for how integrated we want this facility to be from a campus community standpoint; we want people to see in,”” Morgan said.

    Moore said one of the biggest things the new facility would accomplish is to eliminate the 5 p.m. Rec Center rush.

    “”One of the problematic things we did not want to compromise was to ensure that we will not have lines or situations where students have to wait for exercise equipment,”” Moore said. “”We wanted to make sure all students’ needs were taken care of.””

    Maggie Bryant, a pre-communication freshman, said the elimination of lines was just one of her concerns as she envisioned the new facility.

    “”It smells bad in here and most of the weight machines are outdated,”” Bryant said.

    John Granatell, a communications sophomore, said the current size and scope of the Rec Center did not mirror the rest of the university.

    “”For a big-time school, we need a big-time gym,”” Granatell said. “”The bigger the better.””

    Morgan said an exciting feature of the new Rec Center facility will be two large boulders, arch- and pillar-shaped, which will be placed in the courtyard area for students to practice rock climbing. Surrounding the boulders will be protective mats to ensure safety as students freely scale the giant boulders.

    “”It was really an attractive and unique feature to have that outdoor element as part of (the) indoor area of the building,”” Moore said.

    Energy efficiency was also a top priority of FDC during planning, Morgan said. Once the expansion is complete, the facility will become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certified, meaning it will be certified as energy efficient.

    “”This new facility will truly be an icon for students through wellness and fitness,”” Moore said.

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