The CU Rec Center is anticipating major changes due to pressures the current number of students are placing on the facilities, according to their website.
John Meyer, the associate director of recreation programs, said that improving the Rec Center is a multifunctional movement, bettering the university’s recruitment and reputation, sustainability and wellness of the student body.
Meyer said that generally, the problem is that the center is outdated.
“This building, the original building, is 40 years old,” Meyer said. “The expansion is 20 years old. We run 5,000 students through the building a day, we’re loving it to death.”
He also said that 88 percent of CU students use the programs and services provided by the facility.
Future improvements for the Rec Center, Meyer said, could mean building a satellite location encompassing an outdoor swimming pool, ice rink, and multi-purpose gym space.
Further, Meyer said that the facility is not up to national standards and falls far below its sister and comparable universities.
“We have approximately half of the space that national standards say we should have in terms of our size,” he said.
Improving the Rec Center would enhance the recruitment process of students, he said.
“The Rec Center is one of the number one things [prospective students] look at,” Meyer said. “Every tour comes though here. People ask, ‘This is great, but where’s the other Rec Center?’”
Jessica Cicchinelli, a 22-year-old graduate student and taxation major, said that the most prevalent issue is that the current building is simply insufficient.
“Basically, at the CU Rec Center, we don’t have the facilities to match our demand,” Cicchinelli said. “We have one of the most active campuses.”
Meyer said that some areas in the current Rec Center that require attention include the ceiling, the HVAC system (needing some Air Conditioner Tune Ups, which will be done by experts like these HVAC contractors in Bee Cave, TX) and the ice rink.
Cicchinelli said that many students and parents are concerned about the costs of the improvement project, and although there hasn’t been a determination of the exact cost, the entire project could cost anywhere from $40 to $140 million.
Meyer said the cost can be broken down in a number of ways and phases.
“We have approximately $25 million of remedial work, repairs and upgrades, just to keep what we have,” he said. “We realize that it’s not realistic to reach in one step. In terms of a first phase, we would look at a $45 to $55 million cost.”
Cicchinelli said the cost would be part of student fees, which would not be applied until the building and improvements were complete.
A crucial part of the Recreation Center Improvement Project is assuring CU remains one of the “greenest” schools in the nation, said Dan Omasta, CUSG sustainability director and 22-year-old senior and political science and environmental studies double major.
“What we’re possibly going to incorporate is on-site solar generation, whether it’s solar panels to heat the swimming pool, or photovoltaic panels to provide electricity, or also geothermal panels that can provide heat,” Omasta said.
Meyer and Omasta said that the additions to the Rec Center must adhere to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
According to their website, LEED is an international organization verifying that structures are built based on a set of environmental factors such as energy savings, water efficiency, use of resources and various other factors.
“For the Rec Center, we’re pushing to be LEED Gold, at least LEED Platinum,” Omasta said.
The improvement project is solely a student initiative passing only with student votes, Meyer and Cicchinelli said.
“This is 100 percent from the students,” Cicchinelli said. “But if the students don’t vote for it, it won’t work.”
Meyer said that the improvement project is still in progress and open for changes before the vote for the project on the 2011 Spring Referendum.
Thousands of students will also be receiving a survey in the fall asking for their input, he said.
“Vote,” Meyer said. “Vote this fall, and in the spring. Be involved, get informed, and make the decision.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Devon Barrow at Devon.email@example.com.