IMPE, CRCE construction advances as school year nears

By Dan Farnham

As renovations on the Campus Recreation Center-East (CRCE) and the east end of the Intramural Physical Education building (IMPE) continue, campus recreation officials say the construction will be complete sometime next semester.

Associate Director of Campus Recreation Gary Miller said he expects construction on the renovated 110,000 square-foot CRCE (also known as “Wimpe”) and Phase I of the IMPE construction to be finished by the end of the fall semester at the latest. Miller could not give a specific finish date because of unpredictable variables such as the weather.

Phase II of the IMPE construction will not begin until both projects are finished and the new CRCE opens. According to Miller, the renovation of the rest of IMPE will take about two years to finish.

The closure date for the part of IMPE that will undergo construction depends on when the construction on CRCE and the east end of IMPE is finished.

“To use a baseball term, it’s going to be a game-time decision,” Miller said.

If construction on CRCE ends late in the fall with only a short period of the semester left, then IMPE will probably stay open for the rest of the fall semester and begin construction spring semester, Miller said.

But if construction ends early in the semester, IMPE will probably close immediately in order to get a jump on the next phase of construction, he said.

Because construction on IMPE will be both external and internal, winter weather could also affect when the second phase of IMPE construction begins.

Work on the area started in September and construction on the new part of the facility began after a groundbreaking ceremony at the site on Oct. 21.

IMPE staff member and junior in business Rie Ozeki said construction has frustrated some of the facility’s regular patrons. With the east end of IMPE under construction for Phase I, the number of available courts has decreased. Although IMPE is less busy during the summer, the University rents IMPE’s courts to various basketball camps, decreasing available space for regulars.

Junior in engineering Amit Sudharshan is one of those regulars. He visits IMPE two to three times a week. Though Sudharshan lives farther away from CRCE than IMPE, it is not the distance that concerns him. Instead, he worries that the University’s demand for fitness facilities will outweigh supply.

“Wimpe will be absolutely overcrowded,” Sudharshan said.

Despite this, Sudharshan said he understands that the renovations are necessary.

“In order to keep themselves competitive with other schools, they have to (renovate),” he said.

But CRCE won’t be the only facility available to students while IMPE is being renovated. Pools will be available at Kenney Gym and Freer Hall. Badminton play will also be located at 310 Freer Hall.

Still, Ozeki said she doesn’t know if the three facilities will be able to handle the same number of students as IMPE can.

“I’m not sure how they’re going to accommodate everybody,” she said.

When CRCE closed for construction in September, IMPE extended its hours to make up for the loss. This meant longer shifts for staff members like Ozeki, whose shifts sometimes lasted until midnight. Although IMPE will be closing the majority of its facilities in the fall for Phase II of construction, Ozeki is not worried about losing her job. Most of IMPE’s staff will be transferred to CRCE, while a few will remain at IMPE’s Gym I.

The new CRCE facility will include an 1/8th-mile indoor track, racquetball courts, three basketball courts and a leisure pool and spa, among other features. The second phase of the IMPE renovation will add an indoor climbing wall, a sun deck, an expanded fitness area, a 1/6th-mile indoor track and multipurpose rooms.

Computerized images of what the renovated IMPE and CRCE facilities will look like are on display in IMPE’s lobby.