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What was once a dream for some students became a reality for others when construction was completed this summer on the University’s new $28.6 million recreation center. Next Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 3:30 p.m., WCU President Greg Weisenstein will be joined by student government president Michelle Strausbaugh in a ribbon-cutting ceremony signaling the "grand opening" of the much-awaited building.
Designed by Moody Nolan Architects, Inc. of Ohio and the Spiezle Group in Media, Pa., the 72,575 square-foot facility includes a fitness center four times the size of the current fitness facility in Sykes Student Union.
Students who want to play basketball, volleyball, soccer, badminton or any one of a number of different kinds of hockey, for example, are able to do so on a three-court gym with multiple floors to accommodate their preferences. The center's racquetball courts are easily converted for squash players, and those who want to jog indoors are able to take advantage of the elevated three-lane, mile-long track that circles the entire building, overlooking not only the gym and fitness area, but offering a panoramic view of the campus quad and Philips Memorial building.
The new facility also includes spinning rooms, meditation areas, social lounges and a "hydration" station with a refreshment area containing a juice bar and where a glass and "green wall" creates indoor and outdoor terraces.
A very dramatic feature located in the middle of the building is its three-story climbing wall where climbers have a view of all the activity occurring around them. Its design and rough textured surface borrow features from both a climbing wall and a boulder wall with hookups for rigging and protective fall zones.
Two "green roofs" cover part of the building, while much of the interior, including the track, carpet, and part of the gym floors, is made of recycled materials. And in keeping with the University's commitment to sustainability, the new recreational center is tied into the geothermal system that eventually will heat and cool most of the University's residence life and academic buildings. The system's technology relies on the earth's natural heat and needs no external fuels save a little electricity to distribute heated or cooled air throughout the buildings. When installed throughout most of the campus, it will be the largest centralized geothermal system in the country, saving the University $1 million a year and significantly reducing its carbon footprint.
Tours of the building and a reception with food, music and giveaways will mark the occasion.