University anxious for new CRCE

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Courtney Klemm

As the semester progresses and crowds at the Intramural Physical Education (IMPE) building grow, students are beginning to anticipate the re-opening of the Campus Recreation Center-East (CRCE) after its completed renovations.

Lance Moore, sophomore in applied life studies, is part of the campus recreation staff and said he feels the newly expanded CRCE is much needed.

“It’s gotten more crowded here (after CRCE closed for renovations), especially in the weight room,” he said.

CRCE, which is on schedule to open for the spring 2005 semester, will increase from 35,000 square feet to more than 110,000 square feet after renovations.

Planning to renovate a gym of such size and quality has taken a great amount of research, said Gary Miller, associate director of Campus Recreation.

“It’s been very long and time-consuming,” he said. “But this process is to ensure accuracy and quality.”

Miller has been meeting with contractors and sub-contractors twice a week since September 2003. Even before that, research was conducted and plans of the building were reviewed multiple times.

Research on the project began in March 1999 when Campus Recreation initiated the “Quality Assessment of Programs and Services to Best Serve Students and the Campus” study. In June of 2001, students formed a student-lead referendum committee and the Student Referendum Committee created the “Bigger, Better” campaign in August. A large majority of students then approved the referendum in November of 2001.

Deciding which amenities to include was one of the most challenging aspects in renovating CRCE.

“We surveyed students to find out their needs and how the facilities were inadequate or lacking,” Miller said. “From those results, we based many of our decisions.”

CRCE will have numerous new amenities. They include a one-eighth mile indoor track, leisure pool and spa, racquetball courts, three basketball courts, multipurpose rooms and a strength and conditioning area similar in size to the one at IMPE.

Anu Nadkarni, third year law student, said she never used CRCE’s facilities because she always thought it was too small and feels the expansion is exciting.

Choosing what equipment best suited the needs of the facility’s users was also a lengthy development. Miller said it was basically broken down into a four-part process.

“There are a large number of students on campus from the suburbs and Chicago area,” he said. “We made visits to clubs up there to figure out the types of equipment that was used.”

Members of the Campus Recreation staff also visited trade shows and attended a national conference to determine which machines were superior and widely used. Surveys were conducted with people who frequently used the facilities to find out what machines were most popular.

Miller said he feels the new equipment and overall renovations will greatly benefit the students in many different ways.

“There was a great degree of crowdedness (at CRCE), and people had to wait extraordinary amounts of time,” he said. “The expanse will give people the opportunity to go to the facility and be confident that they will be able to participate in a variety of activities with less wait.”