Talks and rumors about the new Recreation Center for West Chester University have been circulating for a while, and it is finally coming together. This project has been yanked around and changed so many times that it has become difficult to fully understand the situation.
Both Diane DeVestern, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, and Dee Giardina, the Executive Director of Facilities Design and Construction, have been working on the Recreation Center project for the past couple of years, and want to communicate with the students about the plans so far concerning the Rec Center.
First of all, there will be a fitness center-a huge and improved fitness center. Some might get sold on just that notion, but there’s more. There will be an elevated running track, basketball courts, racquetball courts, and a large, rounded gymnasium space, or MACs (Multi Activity Courts) where students could easily change the space to accommodate a game of soccer, handball, hockey, rollerblading, volleyball, badminton, and other net sports.
Giardina talked about the MACs, saying, “.we’re trying to make everything as flexible as you can so that the spaces can be reconfigured to the greatest degree.so that groups can do as many sports as they can.” There are also plans to have rooms for aerobics and group exercising classes, and there have also been debates about whether to put up a rock-climbing wall or have boulder climbing, it seems like there’s a tie between the two choices.
Unfortunately, there are no building designs yet to confirm the layout of the Rec Center, but by the sound of things it should be very exciting for everyone who will experience it.
The location of the building has been the main problem for this project. Originally it was supposed to be behind the Sykes Student Union building, where residential lots are, but the University did not want to put in the amount of money needed into buying the pricey lots. The plans were moved forward to build the Rec. Center by Hollinger and build a parking garage respectably where the “F” Lot is,behind Lawrence, in order to accommodate for the Rec. Center parking.
Although the West Chester Borough Council has given preliminary approvals, the residents in the surrounding area, who believe that the new parking garage will create more traffic, have appealed the decision to the courts. This of course set the timetable back, approximately one year. DeVestern stated, “We are just restarting this project again. We’ve had a year of hibernation, because of all the problems with the parking garage, so we have to reeducate the students again.”
If location wasn’t a big enough problem, the contract for the architects, Moody and Nolan, has expired. A selection committee will be interviewing new architects throughout the week. After choosing the architects, DeVestern and Giardina, “. have suggested to try and complete the design process in a 9-month period and if we can succeed then we will start construction 9 months from whenever we were awarded permission.”
If the architects can design the plans in this time frame and there won’t be any problems with construction, the estimated time the Rec Center will be functional would be around August of 2011.
Brian Coble is a first-year student majoring in Engligh. He can be reached at BC670553@wcupa.edu