As the original date for ground breaking construction comes and goes, the existence of the promised new tudent recreation center at West Chester University becomes questionable. As decided at the “Rec it Up!” gathering this past April, students were informed that breaking ground for the construction of this project was scheduled to occur mid 2007. As the year quickly comes to an end no signs of change have been seen.After a meeting with Diane DeVestern, assistant vice president for student affairs, answers to the many questions concerning the dilemma with beginning the new student recreation center were acquired.
The plan is to construct an approximately 63,000 square foot building in the current lot attached to the Lawrence Dining Center. In building this facility, the current Speakman and motor pool building, where West Chester University vehicles are kept, would be knocked down in order to prepare the construction site. When building a facility to this magnitude it is obvious that parking would be an issue. To solve this problem, DeVestern explained a proposal for a new parking garage located across from the current F Lot.
When local neighbors heard of the proposal, they grew concerned, causing a halt on the approval for construction of a new parking garage. One neighbor explains her fears for the new parking garage of “attracting unwanted traffic.” Unfortunately, construction for the new student recreation center cannot begin without all the proper approvals and the delay from the parking garage issue inevitably lead to a delay in the entire project.
A committee of West Chester University students and administration has begun preparation of a plan “B” if the approvals for a new parking garage do not go through as planned. Until these approvals are met, breaking ground is not an option.
Still enthused about the extraordinary endeavor, the student recreation center Committee is still dedicated to the opening of the Center in 2010. Working with architects from Moody-Nolan Inc., there are still high hopes of accomplishing this goal. Moody-Nolan Inc. is a well-known and respected architecture company out of Columbus, Ohio that specializes in student recreation centers. They have completed the current facilities at Ohio State University and West Virginia University, just to name a few.
The new student recreation center plans to be guided by and follow the expectations of students and to provide an area for the West Chester student body to achieve overall good health and fitness. Planning to spend an approximated $21.2 million on this project, “the new student recreation center has strong plans of accommodating each student’s personal wants and needs,” DeVestern said.
Some of the building features will include a fitness center, elevated walking/jogging track, multipurpose rooms, group exercise rooms and a two-court gymnasium.
In addition, there will be racquetball courts, a rock climbing wall and multi-activity courts (MAC). The MAC courts will be flexible enough to adjust to the desired sport or activity of users and may even be used for informal sports available at WCU.
The new student recreation center will also be used as a general gathering destination that provides students with areas to hold social activities. A welcoming main lobby area is planned along with casual lounge spaces and there are even talks of a possible juice bar. Not only is the new student recreation center going to provide West Chester students with the opportunity to attain good health and fitness and an area to congregate to, but according to DeVestern, “it will also be a facility “providing many job opportunities for those looking for on campus employment.”
The student recreation center will be hiring those with proper certifications to work in the Center as staff members and it will also be looking to hire those interested in working the front desk as well as many other enjoyable positions.
DeVestern explains, “With an incredible team of workers and a promising outlook, the new student recreation center is sure to provide West Chester students with the proper amenities they need to live a life of good health and fitness that can hopefully be carried with them as they leave the West Chester University community.”
Though there has not been any visible ground breaking progress yet, the facility is still in the working stages and has the strong dedication from committee members.
Plans are being made for further committee meetings to discuss moving forward with the new student recreation center. More information is to follow concerning this project.
Maggie Cosgrove is a second-year student majoring in Elementary Education. She can be reached at Mc626229@wcupa.edu