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Rec Center closed for semester

Rec Center

The Student Recreation Center closed April 13 to complete renovations and is expected to reopen by the start of the fall semester.

The renovation project is roughly one fourth complete, estimated by Ryan Miller, project manager in Design and Construction.

So far, most of the project has been demolition work, Miller said.

Inside, some walls and the locker rooms have been removed.

Some new walls have already started to go up, along with the power and plumbing systems that need to run through them. New locker rooms with saunas will be built and there will be a new central staircase.

The mezzanine was expanded, allowing for more space for cardio equipment. Additionally, the west wall goes out further, adding square footage to the building.

On the exterior, the new roof has been completed despite the winter weather conditions.

“Winter has not been kind,” Miller said, referring to the snow that prevented roof work at times.

Despite that, demolition work has gone according to schedule, Miller said, and the Rec should re-open before the fall semester starts.

Renovations are also on track budget-wise.

Originally, the budget was $11 million.

That budget was revised to $13.4 million “because renovations are more complex than a new building,” Miller said.

When a building is renovated, additional maintenance needs may be discovered, Miller said.

It’s easier to deal with those needs during renovations than it is to disrupt operations later.

Since that revision, to account for additional maintenance, the budget has remained the same.

It was a challenge to balance contractors working and Rec patrons continuing to use the facility, Miller said.

“It was not perfect for either side,” he said.

Though it would have been more convenient for contractors to work in an empty building, Recreation and Wellness did not want to be without the Rec for the entire renovation period.

Some temporary walls were constructed to separate the public and the contractors, Miller said.

“We want to keep people as comfortable in their routines as we can,” Miller said

A closure at this point was always part of the plan, Miller said, because people cannot be using the building while upgrades to the power and fire alarm systems are being made. Some areas will also be without heat or air conditioning as those systems are upgraded.

Some equipment from the Rec is available for use at the Perry Field House.

That includes cardio equipment such as ellipticals, treadmills, stationary bicycles and stair steppers, said assistant director of the field house Scott Sehmann. There are also machines and free weights.

There have been some adjustments to usual Field House activities to accommodate the Rec equipment.

“We’ve streamlined a little more of the intramural program in the evenings,” Sehmann said.

Additionally, the track is being shared more and the group class schedule has changed.

These changes are “not a huge inconvenience,” Sehmann said.

Students may be using the Field House less than the Rec.

“I have to say [usage] went down a little bit,” said Emily Helm, a customer service associate from the Rec now working at the Field House front desk.

Helm attributes the slight decrease to freshmen and sophomores who live on campus and don’t want to take the farther walk.

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