University leaders help kick off construction of new Student Recreation Center

Jaclyn Rymer

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Member of the University Student Union and CSUN President Jolene Koester posed as they "broke ground" for the construction of the new student Recreation Center. Zara AleksanYan / staff photographer

University officials join Associated Students President Abel Pacheco, second from right, and CSUN President Jolene Koester, right, as they "break ground" for the construction of the new Student Recreation Center, Wednesday, Dec. 2. Photo Credit: Zara Aleksanyan / Staff Photographer

A golden shovel grasped by the hands of CSUN President Jolene Koester, student body President Abel Pacheco, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. William Watkins, University Student Union Executive Director Debra Hammond and University Student Union Board of Directors Chair Piero Procida scooped up the first pile of dirt during the Groundbreaking Ceremony for construction of the Student Recreation Center anticipated to open for the 2011-2012 school year.

The ceremony took place Wednesday on the Fitness Centre lawn where the audience was asked to participate in a series of leg and core stretches between each speech that was given at the event. Family and consumer science student, Jason Eubanks, led the audience through the stretching exercises, which were in an effort to support wellness along with school spirit and excitement for the construction of this new facility.

“This is a great day for us at Cal State Northridge,” Koester said.

The new recreation center will be an excuse for students to come hang out and become more involved on campus, she added.

In April 2007 CSUN students voted in favor of a referendum to increase USU fees to help fund the construction for a 100,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center, said Bryanne Knight, Student Recreation Center project coordinator.

“As folks say in construction, let’s let the dirt fly,” Watkins said.

The building is intended to be quite an upgrade from the humble CSUN Fitness Centre.

The recreation center will have nearly triple the exercise space compared to the Fitness Centre, said Knight.

The construction site for the center starts just south of Vincennes Street and stretches just north of Prairie Street on the east side of the USU. This means that the majority of the G4 parking lot will not be accessible. Knight said that the lost parking spaces will be relocated during the construction phase.

Actual construction for the center is not scheduled to take place until January, Hammond said.

The center’s plans show the inside of the building being fully utilized with exercise rooms for weight training, aerobics, martial arts and dance.
“The more in demand items you’ll see in the building,” Knight said.

An indoor track, boxing studio, a rock climbing wall, outdoor field complex for intramural sports, and an outdoor pool complex are also included inside the building.

The center is expected to have more operating hours than the Fitness Centre as well. The projected hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Other than the USU fee students pay as a part of registration, there will be no semester membership fee for using the Student Recreation Center.

About 200 new student jobs will surface with the opening of the Student Recreation Center, Procida said. Lifeguards, personal trainers and fitness room attendants are only some of the job possibilities.

As for the Fitness Centre, once it is vacated, another campus club or organization can request to occupy the space, and the CSUN Facilities Committee and USU Board of Representatives will go through all of the proposals and choose the next occupant for the space, Knight said.

Hammond said that the new Student Recreation Center will not only promote healthy living, wellness and increase school spirit, but the facility will be the envy of other universities.

Some healthy refreshments and a Wii fitness tournament in the USU Games Room followed the ceremony.