Rec Center renovations may inconvenience students, faculty

The Student Recreational Center will remain fully functional until renovation preparations are scheduled to begin in early August.

The $13.4 million in renovations will include a new front-entrance, mezzanine expansion, stairs flooring, locker rooms, restrooms and a larger parking lot.

Senior Nick Pharo liked the idea of all of the renovations when he first heard about them during the spring semester, but worried that he would never get the chance to enjoy them.

“These projects always seem to take up so much time,” Pharo said. “I do not understand why they have to wait the majority of summer before they get the project moving.”

The tentative dates for the recreational center being closed for renovation preparations are set to take place August 3-11. Following the preparation period, renovations are scheduled to take place through August 2014, according to the Department of Recreation and Wellness’s construction plan.

A large project, like the recreational center renovations, requires extensive planning, and while there have been last-minute maintenance issues, the project is still on track for its completion date, Ryan Miller, recreational center renovation project manager, said.

“With a facility that operates pretty much year round, there isn’t a ‘good time’ to make renovations to this degree,” Miller said. “There was a conscious decision made by the University to provide a partially open building for members to still come in to exercise on a limited basis.”

Beginning renovations at the beginning of the fall semester will cause overcrowding problems that could have been avoided, Pharo said.

“The rec center is always packed at the beginning of every semester because everyone is back in town and ready to get back in the swing of things,” Pharo said. “If they are going to have areas sporadically closed throughout the school year I really think there are going to be a lot of people complaining about their workout schedule.”

While areas will occasionally be closed for the renovations, equipment and services will be moved to other areas in the facility to accommodate visitors, according to the construction plan.

Senior Peter Kariuki is typically at the recreational center playing basketball or soccer 3-4 times a week, Kariuki said.

“I have been going to the rec center to play pick-up games since freshman year,” Kariuki said. “So the only time these renovations would be a problem would be if they had to move the circuit or weight equipment onto the courts. If I walked all the way there just to play a game, I would probably turn around and leave so it would be inconvenient.”

Other facilities like the Perry Field House will be used so areas in the recreational center can stay open, Miller said.

“The current plan is for the weight equipment to get moved out over two existing basketball courts to provide a temporary weight area while the core of the building is renovated,” Miller said. “Sometime in April or May, the weight equipment will likely be moved to the Perry Field House to allow for new flooring to be installed at the courts.”

While there are going to be unavoidable schedule conflicts for visitors, there will be attempts to keep them up-to-date on facility closings, Miller said.

“The best way will be to monitor the Rec Center’s website for upcoming schedules and closings,” Miller said. “We will be doing our best to notify students and the community as early as we can regarding any changes in schedule.”