July 30, 2010
VIDEO: To get a sneak peak inside the new recreation center, watch this two-minute video:
Campus Recreational and Wellness Center opens Aug. 2 for two-week free preview
The University of Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) will open Monday, Aug. 2 for a free, two-week preview to anyone who wants to make use of its extensive fitness offerings.
The $70 million, 215,000-square-foot center provides much needed fitness and aquatic facilities for the campus community. The three-floor CRWC, located at the southwest corner of Burlington and Madison streets, features a 52.5-foot climbing wall, competition pool with spectator seating for up to 2,000, high dive pool, two full-size basketball courts and multi-activity court, 1/9-mile indoor track, leisure pool with a “lazy river” feature and a giant video board for movie screenings, three activity rooms, and much more.
The fitness area in the new building spans more than 20,000 square feet over three floors, with machines featuring embedded televisions and iPod hook-ups and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Burlington Street and Gibson Square.
While the center was designed as a student recreation facility, it offers much more. It will serve as the new home of the men's and women's varsity athletic swimming and diving teams competitive swimming and diving pool, as well as offices for Recreational Services, UI Wellness and Health Iowa.
The CRWC also has steam and sauna rooms, locker rooms, lounge areas and a café featuring smoothies and other light refreshments. Parking is available one block southeast.
The facility will be free of charge for the first two weeks, giving everyone ample time to visit the new facility, purchase their recreation membership and rent a locker. Group exercise classes will also be free during the trial period.
Starting Monday, Aug. 16, a membership to Recreational Services is required to access all recreation facilities on campus, including the CRWC. Memberships are free for currently enrolled students, being part of student fees. Community members may purchase monthly or annual memberships, or pay a daily walk-in fee. UI faculty, staff, alumni and affiliates are offered membership discounts.
McComas Lacina Construction began work on the CRWC in fall 2007. The building was designed by RDG Planning and Design of Des Moines. A formal dedication for the facility is set for 2 to 6 p.m. Friday Aug. 27 with a program starting at 3:30 p.m.
Planning the construction project was a long, thoughtful process that began a decade ago and involved visiting facilities across the country, conducting focus groups and hiring a consulting firm, Recreational Services director Harry Ostrander said.
“Student feedback was instrumental from the start,” Ostrander said. “They told us they wanted more fitness space, more basketball courts, and more group exercise.
“This is our first attempt to build a facility entirely with student fees that is primarily for the students,” he added. “The location is fantastic. Students are able to walk here from just about anywhere on campus.”
Artwork was also incorporated into the CRWC design, including a bronze relief sculpture on the third floor. It is a portrait of NCAA champion swimmer Jack Seig, who was instrumental in developing the butterfly swimming stroke with coach David Armbruster at the University of Iowa in 1936. The sculpture is based on an actual photograph of the athlete swimming an early form of the butterfly stroke. The sculptor Larry Nowlan also created the 16-foot sculpture of Nile Kinnick outside Kinnick Stadium. Two mosaics on the first floor of the CRWC were created by Gary Drostle, an award-winning artist who lives in London. A circular mosaic on the first floor shows all of the Olympic sports that are available in the facility. A river mosaic depicts a river connecting ancient cultures, symbolizes a path of life.
Tom Rocklin, interim vice president for student services, said evidence suggests that students who use campus recreational facilities are more likely to have higher grade-point averages and stay in school.
“Our mission is student success, and student health is part of that,” he said. “It’s important to have recreational opportunities and also to develop teamwork and leadership opportunities in recreation. This new facility will offer fun, alcohol-free activities and help our students grow.”
“Our society needs to have healthier and better fit employees and the same is true for students,” added Ostrander. “With the lounge area and café and being open late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, we expect this place to become a social hub for students, and I think it will be very beneficial to the entire campus.”
The Field House remains open for scheduled activities such as intramurals, club sports and lesson programs and still operates its basketball and racquetball courts. Fitness East in Halsey Hall is continuing its operation under reduced hours.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Harry Ostrander, Recreational Services, 319-335-9293, firstname.lastname@example.org; Kerry DuBay, Recreational Services, 319-335-8439, email@example.com; George McCrory, UI News Services, 319-384-0012, firstname.lastname@example.org