By Nicole Lafond
The four outer walls of the new recreation center stand tall amid chaos on the construction site near McHie, showing the significant progress made over the summer.
Since construction began last spring, workers dug out and built up the entire work site, relocating several campus plumbing and electrical units along the way.
Workers are also developing a geothermal heating and cooling system, said Director of Campus Recreation, Matt Smith.
Construction of this heating system has already begun in the grassy field behind Wisner Hall (although the field will eventually be returned to its grassy state).
Throughout the summer, the basement of the rec center was dug, walls for the basement were poured and the outer walls were set. Rafters for the roof and ceiling were placed on the second day of classes.
“The heat of the summer was tough, but the end result is really going to be incredible,” Smith said.
The goal is to have the grand opening on Dec. 12, 2012, at 12:12 a.m. Smith said they are working on the opening being an all-night all-school party with a possibility of canceled classes the day after.
A lot of progress was made over the summer, but there is still plenty of work to be done.
“The setting of the walls was really fast,” Smith said, “but it’s the inner work and construction that is going to take a lot of time.”
The walls around the foyer and lobby will soon be placed. Other renovations that need to be done include digging out the pools, pouring the floors, and establishing the heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical units within the building. Smith added that the building should be enclosed by winter.
“This will protect our building and the workers from the elements,” he said. “Also, there will be heat to work through the winter.”
Although construction of the competitive and recreational pools has yet to begin, the coach for the swim team, Scott Teeters, began recruiting 20 men and 20 women for the swim team this fall, according to the “Student Life” page on olivet.edu. The new swim team is one of many activities that will become a part of campus culture after the opening of the center.
“It really is our hope that it’ll be a hub for campus life,” Smith said. “The ONU community will grow with more space for that to happen.”