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East Gym renovation to begin this summer

By : Katie Ellis

A long planned-for renovation of the East Gym that will upgrade recreational and fitness facilities as well as building systems will begin immediately following Commencement in May.

The East Gym — the oldest building on campus — will be closed for the duration of the 18-month project.

“The need for improvements to our recreational facilities for our students has been a long-standing concern and we’ve been continuing to work on a plan for the East Gym that will better serve the recreational needs of students, faculty and staff,” said James Van Voorst, vice president for administration. “This project addresses needs specifically identified by students.”

Most of the cost of the $13.5 million project will be covered by critical maintenance funds.

“Critical maintenance funds are part of the capital plan and are allocated each year based on the most critical building needs,” Van Voorst said. ”Each year, projects are identified to be funded and the East Gym is in great need of systems upgrades, refurbishing and general updating. These types of critical maintenance projects also provide opportunities to better serve the current needs and wants of our users.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose agreed.

“While we hope to eventually be able to add additional recreation space for general student use, this project will allow us to significantly upgrade existing spaces to better serve our students,” he said. “Specifically, we’re taking an old, too-small FitSpace and more than doubling the building area dedicated to it. The new fitness facility will be 10,000 square feet and include predominantly new machines.

 “The renovation will also provide new locker rooms, pool improvements, a wellness suite, upgraded multi-purpose rooms for group exercise classes and club practices, the opportunity to consolidate administrative offices into one area and improvements to the lobby and to the gym floor.”

While the East Gym is closed, some cardio and strength training equipment will be moved to the University Union for use — free of charge — by students, faculty and staff.

In addition, Campus Recreational Services will continue to provide many of its core services, Rose said.

“For the most part, Club Sports have alternate practice sites,” he said. “While there will be some minor impact on intramurals, we’re planning to offer leagues in the West Gym and on the East Gym fields as usual.

“There is significant student involvement in these programs and we’re working on determining how and when we can offer them,” he added. “Binghamton Outdoor Pursuits will remain largely intact, and a full schedule of group exercise classes will be offered in the University Union.”

One large impact, according to Rose, will be on open recreation activities. Janice Bennett, associate director of Campus Recreational Services, said that there will be some, limited open rec time offered each day in the West Gym.

“We’re working to find as many spaces as we can within the University Union and the West Gym, as well as planning to use outdoor spaces as seasons allow,” Rose said.

The student recreation fee, which supports Campus Recreational Services operations — including salaries and program costs for open recreation, outdoor pursuits and building operations — will not be affected by this project, Rose said.


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Last Updated: 10/14/08