On Thursday, April 19, outside of Lawrence Hall, a rare citing of students gathering together, putting on construction helmets, and heading in the direction of the new Recreation Center, took place.
As strange as this scene might have been, the students were not trespassing. Instead, a group of student leaders, selected to participate in the Recreation Center Committee, as well as other University officials and student leaders, were given a rare chance. Those officials who have been working closely with the Recreation Center, gave students, faculty and staff a chance to see the progress of the building.
Students were separated into two groups and wore construction helmets as they were led into the Recreation Center by Project Manager, Department of Facilities Design and Construction, Steve Domenick.
Students present for the tour represented the following groups : L.A.S.O., Student Activities Council, Recreation Staff, Student Ambassadors, Student Government Association, and many more. Student media was also present with staff member of The Quad and WCUR’s West Chester Weekly crew ready to film a segment about the Recreation Center. The crew interviewed officials and students about their reactions.
As the first group of students and staff filed out of the building, concluding their tour, there were many reactions.
When asked what she thought about the building, WCU student, Shaina Mason said, “It was so cool in there!” Many of the surrounding students agreed with her statement, surprised at how much progress the building had.
The second group began to follow Domenick into the building.
“Everybody ready? Let’s go,” Domenick said, while warning students to be careful where they were walking. Safety was the key element during the tour and Domenick made sure that students were watching where they were walking.
Construction stopped for the students as they walked inside of the building.
As students walked into the building, they were greeted by the wellness wall, which features inspiring words that WCU students picked through a survey that was e-mailed last year. The first stop was the social lounge, where the hydration station and cafÃ© will also be located.
Students were shown where the squash courts were going to be and where the underground parking area will be as well. Students and staff were also given a chance to see where the climbing wall was going to be located, which will be the predominant feature of the building.
According to Dominick, the climbing wall will be one of the last items that will be installed in the Recreation Center before it opens officially on Aug. 24.
A new aspect of the Recreation Center is that it will feature multi-gender bathrooms and showers. Students were given a chance to see the tile patterns that will go inside of the bathrooms and showers.
Students then moved up to the second floor where the weight-lifting and exercise machines will be.
“It is quite an open space, it is pretty breath-taking,” Domenick said. Students were also amazed by the elevating track above, which will have three running lanes. Nine times around the track will equal a mile , according to Domenick. There will be two exercise areas on the same floor.
Students mingled around the second floor, mesmerized by how well the building was starting to look.
“I have to practically keep putting my jaw up,” third-year student, Jessica Guzzardo, said.
“The entire building will be wi-fi accesible,” Domenick said. “Anybody who wants to get on-line in the building will be able to.”
One student had a question about the windows that will be placed near the basketball courts. She asked about the windows durability pertaining to basketballs being smashed against the windows while games were being played. Domenick replied that the windows and dry wall have high-resistence and has a lot of strength. Students were amazed by the views of the campus through the second and third floor windows.
“Another aspect is that there will be some exercise equipment with video screens hanging from the ceiling,” Domenick said.
When asked what she thought about the Recreation Center, Domenick’s intern, a Drexel University student, said “it’s better” in comparison to other recreation centers.
“When I first started, I was looking through the plans and noticed a lot of similarities,” the intern said. “And looking through the plans, there are a lot of similarities but then once it is here and it is built, this is really better.” The intern is a third-year student at Drexel.
Domenick pointed out that the skylights had just been finished the day of the tour. The Recreation Center will also have geothermal heating and air conditioning.
As students and staff left the tour, their eyes explored the building one last time, some of the students are graduating seniors, trying to catch one last glimpse at a building that some might not see again.
“I’m coming back, even if I am an alumni,” one student said while other students were planning a roadtrip for August 24 to come back to West Chester.
Domenick promises that the Recreation Center will open on time, but the schedule is a little behind, according to Domenick.
As the second group left, amazed by the progress the recreation center showed, West Chester Weekly was ready to film reactions of the students and directors on the tour.
For more information about the recreation center, please visit http://www.wcupa.edu/studentrecreationcenter/default.asp.
Angela Thomas is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at AT683005@wcupa.edu.