The Campus Recreation Center unveiled its new renovations at 4 p.m. Friday. By 4:15, it was already crowded.
The Rec Center bustled with students, faculty and staff eager to utilize new cardio machines, the outdoor bouldering wall, the indoor track and other state-of-the-art fitness equipment.
And for the most part, they were pleased with the new, modern additions to the facility.
â€œIt turned out a lot better than I expected,â€ said Trent Hankins, a supervisor at the Recreation Center and a senior construction management major.
The final series of renovations are expected to be finished by March 2011. Until then, the Rec Center pool, spa and soon to be built steam rooms will be closed to students, said Jeff Huskey, an associate director of Campus Recreation.
For those who canâ€™t wait eight months to get their swimming fix, Moby and South College pools have added drop-in hours.
The new Rec Center is almost fully operational with the cardio area spanning 24,000 square feet.
Kelly Burnett, a Fitness Center assistant, said the new area includes rowing machines, treadmills and True Elliptical machines, simulate running and can be used to tone arms.
â€œItâ€™s really open and spacious, unlike the previous cardio area, which was cramped and closed in,â€ said Audrey Moreno, a sophomore international studies major.
The Rec Center also includes a refurbished running track, four indoor basketball courts, and a multi-activity court for intense games of volleyball and indoor soccer.
The long renovation process began on May 9, 2009, and has been funded solely through bonds, rather than state funds. The overall budget for the project is $32.2 million.
In addition to expanding the available space in the facility, Campus Recreation has also tried to make its facilities and construction processes more environmentally sustainable.
To reach those standards, the Rec Center was built to LEED Gold standards and will be run on â€œgreenâ€ power, which will reduce about 21 percent of energy usage and significantly decrease water use.
LEED certification is monitored by the U.S. Green Building Council and has three levels â€“â€“ Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Phase I of the renovation, according to the Rec Centerâ€™s website, was unveiled after spring break and included the addition of the new lobby area and the climbing wall.
â€œWeâ€™re really busy here, all the time,â€ said Adam Papilion, an assistant at the Outdoor Adventure program and a senior natural resources major.
For those involved in the Rec Center renovation, the results have been nothing but gratifying.
â€œIâ€™m very happy with the results,â€ Huskey said. â€œItâ€™s awesome to see the smiling faces.â€
Staff writer Ali Sylte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org