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Construction Moves Forward on Missouri State's New Campus Rec Center

Construction is well underway for the new Campus Rec Center at Missouri State University. KSMU News’ Samuel Crowe took a tour of the facility recently and has this report.

[SOUND: metal hand saw]

Here on the lower level of the rec center, contractors are busy cutting rebar that will be used to build the frame of the pool. Since the groundbreaking ceremony in March of 2010, the campus community has been anxiously awaiting the opening of the facility that will provide ample space for exercise and fun. With a large student population and limited resources for fitness on campus, the rec center will offer more spacious accommodations to students, staff, and faculty. Previously, the university had projected construction would be finished this fall, but officials had to push back the opening to the winter of 2012, at the earliest. Missouri State Project Manager Terry Rowland explains why.

“As most people remember, it was a very cold, wet winter, and that really impacted the building that wasn’t closed up. So we’re back into February right now, it’s being refined. We should have a better idea here in a couple weeks on exact schedule,” Rowland said.

[SOUND: construction generators]

As the sound of generators fill the construction site, Rowland says the wait will be worth it. The new 100,000 square foot complex will include a 7,000 square foot swimming pool with a zipline, three hardwood basketball courts, a large running track, brand new exercise equipment, and a climbing wall. Rowland says the new Rec Center will become a beacon on campus for health and well-being.

“From the form, as you can tell, to the activities inside, it’s built around motion, about how do we keep people in motion in the idea of fitness and recreation. Let’s make a building that’s enticing for people to move and get healthy,” he said.

Rowland says it’s important that college students learn how to live healthy before they graduate and begin to work long hours, drive more, and have less time and energy for exercise.

“It’s much easier to set our patterns when we’re young students, and carry over those healthy patterns into life. The older you get, I have to admit the more difficult it is to change your ways. And also let’s face it it’s a lot easier to keep a healthy body than it is to try and make one healthy again,” he said.

During my visit to the Rec Center Wednesday, general contractors were working on the roof and were assembling the electrical system. Up next for the workers is to continue constructing the outer frame, applying insulation, and designing the interior.

The facility has already won a regional un-built construction award from the American Institute of Architects. And while there are a lot of high hopes for the rec center, Rowland says he's confident the new facility will surpass these expectations. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.