Aug 232009
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

In May, Student Recreation Center officials were unsure of how far the renovation budget would spread, but after beginning the project they found that $32.2 million would stretch further than expected.

Thanks to lower bids from construction contractors, similar to other construction projects on campus, the final product will have more square footage and better amenities than original plans permitted, officials said last week.

Brian Chase, the director of Facilities Management, said that after saving more than $1 million on the project, the final product will feature a nicer track, more luxurious pool features, increased court space and a martial arts studio. In addition to building upgrades, the extra budget is allowing for between $6,000 and $7,000 of new cardio equipment.

“Because of the recession, we we’re able to get a lot more bang for the buck,” Chase said.

The first phase of the construction, including the building of the court space and an area called the “Free Zone” will be complete in January 2010. The “Free Zone” offers a variety of services such as:

A spa suite for massages

A smoothie bar

A rock climbing wall

A bouldering wall

The other areas currently undergoing construction will not be completed until August 2010, and while Rec. Center officials said there is no less space for activity than before the project began, students are still concerned about the quality of their work out.

To alleviate some of the crowding, the Health and Exercise Department has agreed to open the Moby Arena and South College gyms to students who want to use the aquatics center or the indoor courts.

Students who only use the cardio equipment or free weights can do so in areas of the Rec. Center not under construction.

“All year long, there will be no impact on cardio, club sports, intramurals or weight exercising – we’ll be open regular hours,” said Judy Muenchow, the executive director of Campus Recreation.

Staff writer Kirsten Silveira can be reached at

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