21, No. 8, Oct. 18, 2001
Expansion of Campus rec facilities
scheduled Nov. 12 and 13
By Sharita Forrest,
(217) 244 -1072; firstname.lastname@example.org
When the Intramural-Physical
Education (IMPE) building opened in the fall of 1971, racquetball was
"in," and IMPE boasted 21 courts. In 2001, many of those courts
often sit idle while members jam the cardio equipment and free-weight
rooms, racing each other to the sign-up sheets in the early morning
hours to snag coveted afternoon time-slots on the stair-climbers, treadmills
and weight machines.
Other users report up to two-hour waits to play on one of the 12 basketball
courts at IMPE and Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE), according to
a flier being circulated by a student group supporting expansion and
renovation of campus recreation facilities.
A student referendum is scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 to vote on a proposed
$77 increase in the general fee students pay along with their tuition
to fund $70 million in renovations at IMPE and CRCE. At least 51 percent
of students would have to vote in support of the fee increase for the
referendum to pass.
Under the proposed referendum, the general fee would increase incrementally
beginning with a $24 increase in fall 2004, followed by another $27
raise in spring 2005 and a final $26 increase in spring 2006.
Campus recreation membership fees for non-student members are likely
to increase as well to match the student fee, according to Tony Clements,
director of the Division of Campus Recreation.
Additional sources of funding, such as private and corporate donations,
will be explored as well, Clements said.
During the past two years, the Division of Campus Recreation, working
with a consulting firm, conducted focus groups and surveys to determine
users needs providing the basis for the proposed renovations.
"Two-thirds of users are in the building for fitness-related activities,"
said Gary Miller, the divisions associate director of operations.
"That, in 2001, is what people want to do. People have different
expectations and different needs now than in 1971. We have a fair amount
of space. Its just the wrong kind of space. We need to do something
major to capture the right kind of space."
According to a concept design developed by an architectural firm, the
redesigned IMPE and CRCE buildings would have more than three times
the current space in their strength and conditioning centers with five
times the current number of fitness and weight machines at IMPE and
double the current number at CRCE.
In addition, the redesigned IMPE building would offer study areas, a
food court and a 30-foot climbing wall. The locker-room facilities would
be updated with vanity areas, private showers and changing rooms for
users needing special assistance.
A leisure pool and locker rooms would be added at CRCE, and both IMPE
and CRCE would have quarter-mile running tracks. IMPE and CRCE would
have a combined total of 23 basketball courts, and multi-purpose rooms
would be added to both facilities to accommodate group fitness activities,
intramural athletics and sport clubs.
IMPE would remain open while CRCE was being renovated so that users
would have workout and athletic facilities available on campus during
Construction at CRCE would be expected to begin in September 2003, with
completion expected by January 2005, according to the student referendum
committees flier. The IMPE construction would be done in two phases,
the first scheduled to begin in November 2003 and the second beginning
in September 2005 with completion expected by fall 2006.
"Weve done a lot to try to drag this building into the 20th
century," Miller said, in referring to the IMPE facility. "But
now were at the point where we really have to do something."
Over the years, IMPE has undergone what Miller calls "Band-Aid"
work to accommodate changing user needs. Two atria were converted into
an aerobics room and offices for student workers; the squash courts
became free-weight rooms. Three years ago, both of IMPEs pools
were renovated. This past summer, a racquetball court was converted
into a personal training studio.
Public forums on the proposed referendum are being planned by the student
referendum committee, but dates, times and locations have not been determined.
That information will be posted on the campus rec Web site, www.campusrec.uiuc.edu.