Mar 232011
Authors: Rachel Childs

A blast of green and gold from the CSU pep band welcomed students and faculty to the official opening and dedication of the student-funded Campus Recreation Center Wednesday, celebrating the end of six years of planning and 22 months of construction and anticipation.

At least 80 people stood in the 175,000 square-foot LEED gold-certified, $32 million project.
A steady stream of students filed in and out of the Rec Center during the ceremony, wanting to check out the new design.

“I like it,” said junior journalism major Sarah Downey. “It feels like someone put a lot of energy and time and effort into the design.”

The spacious, window-filled area expanded from the smaller weight room and single fitness room that filled the old center. Larger spaces have made it easier for the nearly 400 student employees that help run the facilities.

“I feel like it brings the atmosphere of being out and working out in the sunshine and having fun,” said Aaron Ayers, a personal training manager and Rec Center employee since 2009.

CSU Provost and Executive Vice President Rick Miranda, Vice President of Student Affairs Blanche Hughes, Associated Students of CSU President Cooper Anderson, ASCSU Vice President Jennifer Babos and recreation center staff spoke about their joy about the new facilities compared to the overcrowded weight rooms of the past.

The two projects –– the main building and the water area –– were paid for with student fees. The bond for the project was approved in 2007 and Saunders Construction Company was hired to gut the building and construct a state-of-the-art fitness and event facility.

“If I had something like this it would have improved my college experience,” said Project Manager and CSU graduate Mike Pask of Saunders Construction Co., who oversaw the construction process for the main building.

Workers put in nearly 70-hour weeks through the three phases of construction to make an area that would meet the demands of the clients and be long lasting for future generations of CSU students
A separate bond was used to build a 65,000 square foot pool area, complete with a four-lane lap pool, spa, zero-depth activity area, sports area and lazy river current channel.

“At least for me it was a very unique project,” said Pool Project Manager Ryan Balakas.

The pool area is not open for public use. Full access is expected in early April.

Recreation Center Director Dave Frock and Executive Director Judy Muenchow fought to get the bonds and pass the student fee that would help fund the building for the last six years, going over the plans and helping to design what has eventually become a noticeable campus feature.

“What’s really important is that the students enjoy it and like it,” Frock said. “That’s really what we did it for.”

Staff writer Rachel Childs can be reached at

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