After years of arduous planning, CU will be seeing the visions for an updated and expanded Rec Center come to life.
Members of the CU community gathered in a Rec Center conference room at 4 p.m. Friday to listen Chancellor DiStefano formally announce the beginning of the construction phase for the Buff Up the Rec renovation and expansion project. As part of the event, attendees faced frigid temperatures to ceremoniously break ground at the Rec Center’s outdoor pool patio.
From left, Chancellor Phil DiStefano, Alumni Bruce Deakyne, Alumni Colin Finch, and Chairman of the Rec Board, Zach Strang, make the first dig to kick off the renovation process at the groundbreaking ceremony. The first dig signifies where the new Ralphie-shaped outdoor pool will go. (CU Independent/Rachel Ramberg)
In his remarks, Chancellor DiStefano thanked Rec Center employees, CUSG, the Rec Center Board and all groups involved in planning and executing the $63 million project, as well as the campus community for their patience during the construction process thus far.
“Good health is related to positive student outcomes,” DiStefano said, highlighting the value of the Rec Center as a campus hub, and added that he looks forward to enjoying the vast amenities himself at project completion.
A number of students involved in the planning and execution of Buff Up the Rec, representing CUSG and the Rec Center Board, added words of appreciation and praise for the achievements thus far and divulged details on exciting new additions for Rec Center users to look forward to.
The new features will include gender-neutral bathroom spaces, a Ralphie-shaped outdoor pool, a new ice rink, an expanded climbing gym and bouldering area, additional basketball courts, roof-top tennis courts, indoor multi-activity turf field, and expanded space for weight and cardiovascular training. The majority of the construction is projected to be complete by fall 2013 with finishing touches through the following spring.
The size of the Rec Center will increase by 30 percent while addressing $25 million in deferred maintenance. The new facility is designed to reduce 50 percent of the current utility bill, and the project is striving for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Deb Coffin, said that she felt “exhilaration” during the groundbreaking ceremony.
“The students have worked so hard on this for so many years,” Coffin said. “It’s coming together that makes magic happen.”
Coffin said that 2011 was a pivotal year for CU student voting, as the student voter turnout in April shattered records and resulted in the passing of a CUSG referenda to increase student fees by $125 per semester starting fall 2013 to fund the Rec Center renovation and expansion project.
The Recreation Board, a nine-person board of students, faculty and staff that operates under CUSG, has played a large role in representing the student voice through the planning, budgeting, and execution of Buff Up the Rec.
Ellesse Spaeth, an 18-year-old sophomore MCD biology major and member of the Rec Board, said that the groundbreaking ceremony is a milestone in a very long process for the board and all those involved in Buff Up the Rec.
The campus community will have to face some inconveniences in and around the faculty due to the construction, Spaeth said; however, the Rec Board’s aim as a student voice is to keep recreation amenities open during the process.
“There are a lot of changes and it’s going to be a little bit difficult for the first few months during the build, but we’re trying to make it as smooth of a transition as possible,” Spaeth said.
Cheryl Kent, director of the Rec Center, was one of the first to break ground armed with a shovel from a 1991 Rec Center improvement initiative. Kent said that the “army of people” involved in the planning and implementation of the project continue to work to execute major renovations in a short period of time to minimize the impact of construction on the CU community.
“The project has been fabulous so far and it’s just the beginning,” Kent said.
Beginning Oct. 11, the Rec Center entrance will be moved from its current south-facing entrance to the east gym facing Folsom Field. For more information on the status of the project, visit http://www.colorado.edu/recreation/rec_improv.
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Nora Keating at Nora.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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