Recreation Center renovates for 2015

Recreation Center renovates for 2015

By Jessica Brown | @BrownJessicaJ, Daily Egyptian

Patrons’ health will not be the only thing to receive a makeover this year at the Recreation Center.

The structure, built in 1976, has gone through significant upgrades during its time on campus and is undergoing more renovations in 2015.

Nine projects have been completed recently or are about to begin. Altogether, the renovations will cost $1,191,500 to $1,201,500. The Recreation Center will pay $926,500 to $936,500 of the total, the athletic department will pay $225,000 and the university will pay $40,000.

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The men’s and women’s locker room floors, which were smooth concrete, have been replaced with a non-slip, rough surface.

“There were patrons that had concerns about it,” said Troy Vaughn, director of the Recreation Center. “There have been some slips that have taken place.”

He said no injuries have been reported to staff. The floors cost $60,000 and were paid for with the Recreation Center’s savings account, which does not include student fees.

“They’re basically funds that we’ve saved up from over the years that actually are designated to go back in to make improvements or repairs within the building,” Vaughn said.

Locker room floors are not the only renovation to be paid for with the savings account. The money will also be used to replace the east gymnasium floor and indoor track. The Recreation Center and athletic department are both paying for half of the $450,000 project.

The floor and track will be installed starting June 1 and completed roughly July 30.

At that time, the curtain separating the basketball courts and the track will also be replaced, costing $115,000.

The old service desk of the Recreation Center is being replaced, and a whole new entry system will be installed. This project is estimated to be complete within the next two weeks, and will cost $40,000 to $50,000.

The improved entrance design includes one area for basic entry that members can go through and another area for selling passes or other special requests. Vaughn said this will not only make patron entry more efficient, but will boost security.

There have been issues of people sneaking into the establishment at high-use times, which has led to thefts, Vaughn said.

However, not all visitors agree that the reorganization is necessary. Clayton Teixeira, a 27-year-old transfer student from Brazil, said inefficiency was never a problem.

“I’ve never spent more than 20 seconds to get into the Rec Center,” said Teixeria, who attends the Recreation Center about five times a week.

Starting at the end of January, most of the sodium lights in the building will be replaced with LED lights for $330,000. This will be funded by a federal government rebate program that gives organizations money to make their facilities more environmentally friendly, Vaughn said.

“We’re spending some money, but we’re making ourselves greener,” he said. “We’ll be saving money in the long term.”

Other renovations include removing the blinds in the Alumni Lounge and tinting the windows for $1,500.

There was also an installation of projectors at the north and south entrance for $3,000.

The Recreation Center paid for these amenities using the operating budget for the building, Vaughn said. The operating budget uses a portion of the Recreation Center student fee, which was $134.60 during each of the last two semesters.

Also, the campus boat dock will be repainted have new lights installed for $80,000 at the end of March. The Recreation Center will pay for just half that sum because the university will pay the other half, Vaughn said.

Rusting shower trees in the men’s and women’s locker rooms will begin to be replaced starting this month as well. There are 16 shower trees and one tree will be replaced every six to eight months, Vaughn said.

Replacing these fixtures will cost $7,000 apiece, a total cost of $112,000.

Vaughn said the goal is to keep the Recreation Center as updated as possible to eliminate risks for guests.

Gary Kulik, a junior from Highland Park studying hospitality and tourism, said he likes many of the renovations.

“I see a lot of students, elderly people and even children here sometimes,” Kulik said. “It’s definitely a good thing to keep accidents from happening.”

Vaughn said many of the renovations do not only improve safety, but are a major attraction to potential SIU students.

“We’re a huge recruiting draw and we know that,” he said. “We want to stay as fresh as we can, because we know students could be picking coming to SIU because of what we provide.”

Jessica Brown can be reached at [email protected] 

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