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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New gym on track for expanded Rec Center

    After months of worrying that it might not happen, directors of the Campus Recreation Center expansion project said they are relieved a multi-purpose activity court gym will be included in their plans.

    The gym will allow student access to sports not possible in existing facilities, such as indoor soccer and roller hockey, said Colleen Morgan, a facilities project manager in the department of facilities design and construction.

    “”I cannot tell you how happy we are,”” Morgan said.

    “”I’m glad students are getting what they voted for.””
    – Erin Hertzog, ASUA president

    UA students voted in November 2005 in favor of a $25 fee, beginning in 2011, to fund the expansion. At the time, plans included the MAC gym.

    But before the expansion got final approval from the Arizona Board of Regents in January, Juliette Moore, director of the department of campus recreation, said construction costs had risen to the point where the gym’s feasibility came into question.

    Funding became so tight that the issue of money for an overhaul of utility infrastructure in the area came to the forefront. Moore had said if the UA central administration covered enough of that project, she could be more certain the gym would be included.

    However, Morgan said the UA has worked with the department of campus recreation to reorganize the construction bonds and wring as much money as possible out of them.

    Now, even without knowing what specific amount the UA will foot for the utility tunnel, Morgan said she is confident the MAC gym will definitely be a part of the expanded Rec Center.

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog said she is relieved.

    “”I’m glad students are getting what they voted for,”” Hertzog said.

    Morgan said the design team is still trying to find the “”most effective and least expensive”” way to include utility tunnel in their plans.

    Dick Roberts, UA budget director, said the UA will soon decide how much it will pay for the utility infrastructure. He said local funds – meaning the university’s non-state, non-student money – will be used to fund its portion.

    The expansion itself will be built to meet energy and environmental design standards as set by the U.S. Green Building Council, Morgan said.

    The project will consume about 85,000 total square feet, including the MAC gym, a new outdoor adventures area, and bouldering wall, Morgan said.

    Morgan said the focus of the construction design is expansion, not renovation of existing facilities.

    “”We wanted to make sure we get the most new space we could with the money available,”” Morgan said.

    Designs call for the addition to take up half the parking lot east of the Rec Center.

    Morgan said the number of available parking spots on campus will go through a “”little dip”” when the project starts, but more spaces will become available once the Cherry Avenue garage renovation is finished. She also noted that the department of parking and transportation says many spaces in the adjacent surface lots on Sixth Street are under-utilized.

    Moore said she attributes progress on the project to its design team.

    “”We have a great, cohesive group,”” Moore said.

    Hertzog said she knows further expansions and renovations may be necessary, and she hopes the UA continues its support of the Rec Center, because it is a “”huge, huge recruitment tool.””

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