Rec Sports announces plans for temporary space, progress on project

April 2, 2010

This artist's view of the Recreational Sports Center after renovation and expansion looks northwest across Martin Jischke Drive. The expanded building will be nearer the street and will use natural light extensively. (Image provided by Division of Recreational Sports)

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A plan to keep plenty of recreation space open during the 2011-12 renovation and expansion of the Recreational Sports Center is now in place.

At the same time, project design is moving from concepts into details.

Howard Taylor, director of the Division of Recreational Sports, says, "We have had many students, faculty and staff ask what will happen when the project begins. With a plan in place, we are able to better explain how the project will affect the current building during construction, and describe in greater detail what the new facility will be.

"I think we've got an excellent plan. We're going to have many recreational opportunities available."

Very few interruptions will occur until January 2011, he says, and most recreational activities will  be available throughout the project.

"The first work will begin after spring graduation in May and not significantly affect recreational facility space," Taylor says. "We are continuing to work with the design team to bring greater detail to the plans. This design phase will continue through the fall of 2010.

"For example, we don't know exact dates for the shutoff of water or electricity for changeover of service. Our goal is to have as much information as possible out there when it becomes known."

The work this May will be project site and utility preparation, which will affect traffic and parking at times.

Transition plan

The big picture for the transition is known.

The Boilermaker Aquatic Center will stay open throughout the project with entry at its main door.

The East-West Gym will receive a few improvements and access adjustments at low-use times, if possible, and will remain open.

Temporary parking will be added this summer, and more in the fall.

Fitness space in residence halls and a new 32,000-square-foot multi-use center west of the aquatic center will cover many other needs.

Only racquetball/squash courts and a space like the North Gym for indoor soccer and inline hockey will be unavailable during the January 2011-August 2012 construction period. Efforts to find available courts in other facilities have not succeeded, Taylor says.

Designs for the future

An atmosphere of new thinking and energy imbues the plans for the $98 million renovation and expansion project.

Sitting in his office with rubber-banded rolls of architectural drawings all around, Taylor leafs through a bound set of pages from Moody-Nolan architects showing possible materials for paneling, tiles, countertops and so forth. That's the stage the planning is reaching.

Several pages show segments of a three-lane running track that cuts through several areas of the building above the main level.

"It's going to be a high-quality, shock absorbent running surface on the track," he says.

He continues to communicate with the DRS student advisory group and Purdue Student Government, both of which have contributed greatly to the impetus for the project and the guiding concepts and major spaces for the building. The building design, however, has gone beyond the phases in which a large group can discuss everything, he says.

 "We're meeting with smaller groups of students for input on specific components," he says. "For example students who are involved in climbing are providing input on the climbing wall. I met with a student the other day for input regarding the demonstration kitchen. We are also meeting with experts from across campus to ensure appropriate designs in many of the spaces.

"The design process is moving very rapidly."

Temporary facilities beyond RSC/AQUA

 In addition to RSC’s East-West Gym and the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, other venues will be available from January 2011 until August 2012 during the Recreational Sports Center project:

* TREC, the Turf Recreation Exercise Center: This summer and fall, a new 32,000-square-foot facility will be built west of the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. It is scheduled to be open by January.

During the transition, it will include two basketball courts, a two-lane jogging track, and about 11,000 square feet for fitness, more than half the space now provided by the Colby Fitness Center. This building also will have some limited locker and shower space.

Temporary parking will be built this fall west of TREC.

The building’s name anticipates its use after the renovated RSC is reopened. TREC, the Turf Recreation Exercise Center, will be converted to a large indoor turf activity space. As such, it will support many kinds of activities such as indoor soccer, lacrosse, Ultimate and more. 

* Satellite facilities: Several locations on campus will be adapted to meet recreational needs:

-- Shreve Hall basement: DRS administrative staff offices.

-- Owen Hall, old dining area: martial art activities, wrestling, dance, table tennis, etc.

-- Tarkington and Wiley halls, old dining areas: cardio and strength training.

-- Harrison Hall, old dining area: group exercise programs.

-- Meredith Hall, old dining area: Learn to Play program (cycling, Pilates, yoga, etc.).

-- Lambert Fieldhouse, gym (evenings): club sports.

Features of future center

Here is some of what the renovated and expanded center will have in August 2012: a multipurpose pool, improved cardio-fitness and strength-conditioning areas, indoor jogging/walking space, racquetball courts, group exercise/multipurpose spaces, and more and upgraded gymnasium space including a multi-activity-court (MAC) gymnasium usable for soccer and inline hockey.

Also a wellness center, climbing and bouldering walls, synthetic turf space, common areas/lounge spaces, modern new locker rooms, an area for healthy snacks, and upgraded building systems (plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical).

Project financing and donor options

Students requested the upgrade of the center and agreed to fund it. A three-year phase-in of an $81-per-year fee will begin in fall 2011. No taxpayer money is involved in the funding.

The funding plan also seeks $3 million in private gifts. Significant naming opportunities are available for gifts of $50,000 or greater. Persons interested in exploring gift options can contact David Lasater, director of advancement for the Office of the Vice President for Student Services, at or 496-2406.