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After a long-term dry spell in attendance for CU’s Rec Center, the new facility has seen a constant flow of students every day of the first week of its reopening.
The southwest section of the building opened at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, providing students with a new climbing wall, three fitness studios, a renovated pool and hockey rink and a three-level weight and cardio exercise area.
During the renovations to the section, the Rec Center was characterized by constant noise and overcrowded spaces as construction crews labored throughout the day.
“During construction, we had very limited facilities — a basketball court and a cardiovascular weight room,” said Rec Center Interim Director Gary Chadwick. “So I think what happened was that students and faculty chose to go somewhere else.”
From Jan. 21-24, students and faculty are invited to attend “Reconnect with the Rec,” an opportunity to explore the new facilities and speak to personal trainers and equipment vendors on site. There will also be exercise demonstrations, guided tours, climbing wall competitions and giveaways.
“We’re trying to connect with those folks and let them know to come in, see what we have to offer and use it, because you’re paying for it with your student fees,” Chadwick said.
Despite the ongoing construction all around the southwest section, attendance is increasing. Nelson Barry, a 21-year-old junior engineering student and personal trainer, noted the amount of people using the Rec Center.
“Before this opened up, it was just the hardcore fitness enthusiasts around,” Barry said. “But now it seems like every CU student is coming here.”
The Rec Center construction and redesign began in 2011 as a student government initiative called “Buff Up the Rec.” Over 70 percent of students voted in support of the initiative, which has increased student fees by approximately $100 per semester and will continue to do so for the next 25 years. “Buff Up the Rec” will cost around $63.5 million in total and is scheduled for completion in April.
The southwest addition was the largest phase of the project, adding 83,000 square feet of indoor space to the Rec Center. The final phase will provide an indoor turf field, rooftop tennis courts, an outdoor pool and a renovation of the existing basketball courts.
Annie Mulvany, Assistant Director of Marketing and External Relations, says the biggest size increase was the construction of new fitness studios, which are intended to hold more classes and instructional programs in activities like martial arts and dancing.
“We’ve got a lot to offer now, and are pretty excited to bring these services to the students,” Mulvany said. “So far, the classes on the climbing wall are getting the most attention.”
The 38-foot wall stands in the middle of the facility and represents CU and Boulder’s fitness-oriented culture, said 23-year-old sophomore physics major Dane Schlea, who also works as the gear and rental center manager. The new Rec Center aims to encourage students to take advantage of the exercise opportunities beyond campus.
“Anything outdoors that you’d ever want to do, you can do through us,” Schlea said. “That’s what excites me most — when people come in and say, hey, I want to learn how to climb. We get to go on trips with them, we get to go to the Flatirons and they get to experience a whole new utility.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Gabriel Larsen Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.