By Meg Dowell @GG_Dowell
Prior to students’ departure from campus at the end of last semester, many elements of the Student Life and Recreation Center had yet to transition from blueprints to reality. Many changes and additions have been made to the building since summer began.
“I can’t believe [the opening is] just three months away,” said Matt Smith, director of campus recreation. “There’s a lot that’s gone on between May 5 and today.”
Construction of the rec center continued over the summer. The brick on the outside of the building was painted, and many of the inner walls and ceilings were finished as well. In addition to a finished paint job, the building’s plaza, the driveway roundabout area in front of the facility, has also been completed.
Before summer began, one of the pools was dug out. The recreation pool is now completed, however the competitive pool is not. The placing of tile within this particular pool has just begun.
“The tile itself marks the lanes of the pool,” Smith said. “Competition-wise, it’s starting to look like an actual pool.”
The rec center will also feature a rock climbing wall that will arrive in pieces that must fit through a standard door. Once inside the building, the pieces will be assembled to complete the four-story wall. Installation is scheduled to begin as soon as possible.
The ceilings and lighting in a large portion of the building have been finished, especially on the third floor, where the new fitness center will be located. Flooring in the restrooms and locker rooms is also near completion. The flooring in the main lobby areas of the building will be one of the last elements to be completed.
“A lot of little things that you don’t see, like plumbing and electrical work, have been going on all summer,” Smith said. “They finished up all the glasswork outside [as well]. All the basketball hoops and the netting in the arena have been completed.”
All of the major structural elements of the building are finished. Now the main focus of construction is making sure things such as lights and speakers are in and working.
“As far as I know, 12-12-12 is [still] the day,” Smith said, referring to the center’s grand opening on Dec. 12. Despite the grand opening celebration, the rec center’s facilities will not be available for use during the month of December.
The Office of Community Life is currently working with Smith on planning a week of activities at the start of the spring semester to celebrate both the official opening of the rec center as well as the return of students and faculty to campus after Christmas break.
“We’ll use the building as it’s meant to be used,” Smith said. “We have an enormous open space that’s weather-protected so that we can do fun stuff [inside], as well as other activities.”
Junior Allison Walsh does not expect this new campus addition to disappoint. “[It] will not only be a fun place for students to hang out, but [will] also encourage students to be more active — and [it will] be the most popular place on campus.”
Smith has confirmed that the various elements of construction on the rec center are on schedule.
“The only thing they may be a little behind on is the pool,” Smith said.
Construction of the pool will be completed once the necessary permit comes through. The permit had to be resubmitted because of serveral adjustments when planning structural elements of the building.
“There are certain things you can and can’t do until you get your permit from the state,” Smith said. “Everything else is right on schedule, if not ahead a little bit.”