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Construction on Recreation Center set to begin

By Lisa DiCarlucci, Entertainment Editor

The Recreation Center will be completely closed from December 21 through January 1. From January 2 through February 14, the Physical Fitness Center will be open for students to utilize on a revised schedule. On February 15, the Recreation Center will be reopen for normal hours of operation, though certain parts of the facilities will be closed, limited or rearranged.

Many of the intramural sports will be held outside in the spring and daily classes may be held in alternate locations such as the Student Center or the Netherlands.
Any inconveniences will be well worth the wait though according to Pat Montagano, Director of Recreation and Intramural Sports. "It's very exciting," Monatagano said. "We're going for that ‘wow' factor. There's going to be lots of action."

The changes to the Recreation Center will come in two parts according to Joseph Barkwill, Vice President for Operations and Facilities. "There's the expansion piece and the renovation piece," Barkwill said. "The North side will expand 10,000 square feet, including a spin room, practice room, yoga/pilates studio and an expanded weight room."

As far as renovations are concerned, "The equipment will be state of the art," Montagano said. "The intent is to have a bit of a circuit system." Additional remodeling will include a new rubber composition track and the video screens left over from the debate will not be utilized in the cardio area.

"Before, the space was functional but not exactly visual," Barkwill said. "Now we are going to create a lot of open space, glass, and natural light. We want it to be a place for social gathering; where people want to be seen and want to stay."

In order to improve the overall visual nature of the facility, Barkwill said that the lobby will be completely redesigned to be more open, so that the upper level of the gym can be seen upon entering. There will also be a computer station, new vending machines, and a lounge area.

According the Montagano, the renovations will allow for expansion in programming that will stay current with current fitness plans. She hopes that the changes will encourage more students to come to the Recreation Center. "It's their gym," Montagano said. "When students walk in, I want them to be able to see everything going on."

As for why this is happening now, Barkwill gave two reasons. "We are taking advantage of the current economic situation. It's become a very advantageous time for construction prices." The well being of students is the number one reason, however. "Health is much more part of everyday life since we built the Recreation Center in the early 80's. We want to meet the needs of the everyday student."

The Recreation Center construction model, currently on display in the Recreation Center. (Lisa DiCarlucci/The Chronicle)

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