By: Stephanie Reitz
Source: UConn Today
UConn’s Board of Trustees has endorsed the direction of a proposal to build a new Student Recreation Center to replace the current undersized, aging facility and better meet the needs of the student population.
UConn’s trustees voted Wednesday to approve the project budget for the new facility, with that approval contingent upon approvals by the board’s committees on financial affairs and buildings, grounds and environment. Each committee plans to conduct detailed reviews of the project as part of a process that also will include student input at all stages of planning.
The proposal for the new center comes after more than a decade of input from students who expressed concern about inadequate space and amenities at the current site. Club sports teams also have found themselves limited in the times and locations where they could practice, and students often experience long lines to use the fitness equipment.
The new center would put UConn on par with many of its peer institutions and address a shortcoming in student life amenities, which University officials say is particularly important considering the large number of students who choose to live on campus. The opening date has yet to be determined.
The 200,000-square-foot facility would cost approximately $100 million and is proposed to encompass five full-size basketball courts, a 50-meter pool and aquatics center, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, six courts for racquetball and squash, a jogging track, seven multi-purpose rooms and other space for locker rooms, shower areas, and program offices.
According to preliminary plans, it may be built on the northwest corner of campus in the vicinity of Lot 9 and the King Hill Road — land known colloquially as the Farmer Brown Lot.
Rec center proposed to open in 2016
The bond would be repaid through student fees not to exceed $250 per semester for full-time undergraduate students and not to exceed $200 per semester for graduate students. It would not be charged to students until the building opens its doors in 2016.
The funding method would mean that many current students would never pay the fee, and any student who was enrolled as of spring 2013 would not be charged a fee for a two-year period if they are still UConn students at the time the facility opens. That decision to “grandfather in” the existing students, if adopted, would ensure that the vast majority of future students are aware that the fee is on the horizon at the time they enroll in UConn.
The proposal has been discussed at length with students, including at two town hall-style meetings sponsored in April by the Undergraduate Student Government, and also in the public comments portion of the Board of Trustees’ meeting last April.
UConn officials say students’ input has been critical to the process and will continue to be requested and valued to help guide planning for the services, programs and other amenities that will best meet their needs.
The building would be open for all students’ use. While university varsity athletes could use the facility on an individual basis in the same manner as any students, it would not be used by the intercollegiate teams for practice or competition events.
Students would not be charged to use the facility, but faculty and staff members would have an opportunity to buy memberships.