By Bailie Wilson
Beginning in spring 2014, the Texas A&M Rec Center will implement some dramatic new changes to the facilities and services—a $54 million expansion funded without an increase in student fees.
“We first opened in 1995, and since that time the student body has grown 25%,” says TAMU Rec Sports Executive Director, Dennis Corrington. Since the Rec Center has operated at capacity since its initial opening, the goal of the expansion is to offer more space and services to the rapidly growing student body.
“Three to five years ago, we were serving 85% of the student body and now we are serving 75%,” explains Corrington. “We just don’t have enough room to accommodate the growing student body.”
The extensive expansion will entail 56,000 square feet of renovation and more than 113,000 square feet of construction—an overall increase in size of about 25%. “We are at a max for students who want to participate, so we are adding activity space,” says Corrington.
Major changes include increased strength and conditioning space, which will consist of personal training and indoor turf areas. Another gymnasium will also be added, featuring a multi-use court space. An outdoor plaza will be constructed with outdoor kitchen facilities. New activity rooms, a second entrance, and an additional eight-lane, 25-meter lap pool will also be added.
“We will also be remodeling a lot of our current space,” says Corrington. “We will be putting a new roof on the building and replacing all lighting with higher efficiency fixtures, which should reduce energy consumption.” Additionally, all mechanical components of the natatorium will be retrofitted and certain cosmetics, such as tile, paint, and bleachers, will be upgraded.
“As far as a timeline goes, we should be operating in the new facilities by January 2016, and the construction will start in April,” says Corrington.
Despite all the changes, the Rec Center should remain fully open throughout the renovation and expansion process. “There may be some interruption and less activity space for a time period. We may have to limit the number of intramural teams, but for the most part, everything should remain operational during the construction period.”
For more information on the Rec Center expansion and renovation, visit www.recsports4u.com.