On Feb. 9, the Recreation Center Committee met once again to discuss the on-goings of the process of bringing the Student Recreation Center together. Students representing organizations on campus such as the Black Student Union, Latino American Student Organization, Student Government Association, Sykes Advisory Board, Resident Hall Association, Off-Campus and Commuter Association and more, came together to discuss the Recreation Center which will be opening in the fall 2012 semester.
As many students might notice, the building is coming together very quickly. What was once a skeleton of a building is now becoming something more full. Exterior finishes are being installed as well as windows and heating. Dee Giardina, Executive Direction of Facilities Design and Construction, encourages students to watch the virtual tour on the Recreation Center’s website in order to get a full understanding of what the building will eventually look like from both the exterior and interior.
A big discussion focus was the climbing wall. The Climbing Wall is a rock climbing wall that allows students to rock climb depending on different skill levels.
“The Climbing Wall stares you right in the face,” Steve Domenick, Project Manager, Department of Facilities Design and Construction said. Domenick showed students an example of what the wall will be made of. The Climbing Wall will be seen from many points of the building and will extend to the top of ceiling. “We had a really good choice in flavors,” Domenick said about the selection of companies to go with to build the wall. The Wellness Wall will also be a very big feature in the center.
“It will be a very unique wall in the building,” Diane DeVestern, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs said. The Wellness Wall will span 2 floors and will be located behind the snack bar area. Students were given a survey to pick 5 inspirational words they would want on the Wellness Wall.
“In order to be well in health, we must be environmentally well,” Mina Lele, Senior Interior Designer, Department of Facilities Design and Construction said. “[The Wellness Wall] will represent wellness surrounding us.”
Panels used for the Wellness Wall are made from all-natural materials. “It will be a really beautiful space. When working out, it will create a beautiful focus,” Lele said.
The center will also feature a bigger and better fitness center. The fitness center will be approximately 12,000 sq.ft.
“Students wanted more cardio,” Steve Gambino, Director of Campus Recreation said, referencing a survey that was sent around to students asking what type of fitness equipment they would want. The fitness center will include 20 elipticals and 20 treadmills as well as free weights and more benches. “We did our homework and the equipment is top of the line,” Gambino said. The fitness center will also include 3 studios for group fitness and spinning equipment.
A student representative from the Sykes Advisory Board asked how the staff of the center will handle the influx of students wanting to participate in the Climbing Wall. Talk of creating scheduling blocks, much like the ones currently in the Sykes Fitness Center, was discussed. The building will also feature a brand new feature outside on the patio. The Student Government Association Senate donation for $4,000 was passed and the money will go towards a bronzed status of a ram. The ram will be in the center of the patio and the patio will be similar to the Residential Quad.
Earlier in the fall 2011 semester, students were given the chance to sign small tiles that will be put together in a collage with the help of the Department of Art’s chair, John Baker. DeVestern is hoping to incorporate school colors into the collage and hopes to create a look much like Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Mosaic on South Street. DeVestern also said that next to the collage there will be a plaque of some sort describing the story of how students signed the tiles.
There have been 125 students involved in the planning of the Recreation Center since 1997. Those alumni involved have been asked to sign a tile and so far, 45 alumni have responded.
Students maybe be wondering what will happen to the space that the Sykes Fitness Center currently occupies. SGA has endorsed for the space to be made into additional meeting spaces for clubs and organizations.
To learn more about the center, visit the site at
Angela Thomas is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at AT683005@wcupa.edu.