Here’s my article for issue 4 of The Oredigger:
Recreation and Wellness Center: Campus Development Off To A Good Start
The much anticipated Recreation and Wellness Center is in its final phase of conception. The transition from concept to reality began on October 13th when the winning bid for an architecture firm was announced. Sink, Combs and Dethlefs will now work with the school to hire a general contractor who will oversee the construction of the Center. If all goes according to plan, construction will start soon after school lets out in May, beginning with the demolition and relocation of the McBride House, the Minority Engineering Program house, the Outdoor Recreation Center, the Senior Design House, and the old Sigma Kappa house.
There have been some concerns regarding the historic significance of some of the houses,
especially the old Sigma Kappa house. However, Harold Cheuvront, Vice President and Dean of Students, noted that "none of the buildings in the block are classified as historical landmarks nor are they eligible to be." Despite the legal status of the houses, there are still some concerned citizens who would like to preserve some of them. In an effort to accommodate that request, Cheuvront responded that "if the city would move them to a vacant lot owned by the city, we [Colorado School of Mines] would of course be willing to sell them a house for a dollar or something like that."
Construction of the Recreation and Wellness Center will cause a partial closure of Maple Street to vehicular traffic and the complete closure and conversion of 16th Street, between Maple and Elm, into a pedestrian walkway. Approximately twelve short months later, the newly built Recreation and Wellness Center will be finished.
The Center is mostly a response to student demand for more sports oriented activities. Currently, over 85% of CSM students participate in some form of sport; the new Recreation and Wellness Center will expand the range of physical activities and hopefully increase the amount of student participation as well as provide the opportunity for much needed socialization activities.
The Center will include several basketball and volleyball courts, a running track, a
climbing wall, locker rooms, weight/fitness room, racquetball/handball courts, an aerobics
and yoga room, and several offices that will house the Outdoor Recreational Center and
the Intramurals and Club Sports office.
Total cost of the complex, including demolition of the old housing and furnishing of the new
facility will cost around $18 million, $6 million less then originally budgeted. The difference is due to lack of state provided funds; the extra $6 million would have been used for an aquatics facility. However, there are still plans to construct the aquatics portion at a later date and the design of the Recreation and Wellness Center will allow for easy integration between the Center and the pool.