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Groundbreaking conducted for new Student Recreation and Wellness Center

April 4, 2008 -- Arkansas State University is set to begin construction on the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The groundbreaking ceremony for the $18 million building was held today at 11 a.m. The construction site isArchitectural rendering of ASU's new Student Recreation and Wellness Center. located on Aggie Road, west of Arkansas Hall. Participants in the ceremony included Dr. Robert L. Potts, Chancellor, ASU-Jonesboro, Dr. Rick Stripling, vice chancellor, Student Affairs, Student Government Association president Morgan Pippin, Mike Gibson, Chair of the ASU Board of Trustees, and Tiffny Frazier, former president of ASU’s Student Government Association, who led the initial effort to get approval for the center.

Dr. Robert L. Potts, Chancellor, ASU-Jonesboro, said, “While students come to ASU-Jonesboro for a university education, they also need to sustain and develop themselves physically. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will quickly become an effective and popular venue for promoting healthy lifestyles. In addition, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center should enhance ASU-Jonesboro’s ability to recruit talented students in the years to come, because this center will also become an important center for social interaction.”

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center is designed as a 74,000-square-foot structure that will house multiple amenities for students. The fitness club that is currently located in the Student Union will be moved to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will also house all indoor intramural sports programs currently conducted in the Health, Physical Education, and Sports Sciences building (HPESS). Participation in intramural sports programs has almost doubled at ASU since the fall semester of 2004. Almost 10 per cent of students participated in intramural sports programs as of fall semester, 2004, and in spring semester, 2008, that figure has risen to between 18-20 per cent.

This new recreation facility will have two levels and will be equipped to outfit an aquatics center in the future. The lower level will house approximately 17,000 square feet of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, three basketball/volleyball courts, one multipurpose activity court, office space, locker rooms, and wellness assessment rooms. The upper level will house a three-lane walking/running track, as well as meeting rooms and exercise classroom space. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will be able to increase the number of fitness classes currently offered, as well as adding additional wellness and nutritional programming options.

The construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center will give the Arkansas State University campus approximately 60,000 additional square feet of recreation space than is currently available.

“The University is excited to see the addition of this much-needed space and to be able to offer students a state-of-the-art recreation facility,” said Morgan Pippin, 2007-2008 Student Government president. “There has been an amazing amount of time, thought, and labor put into every single step of planning for this facility—seeing it come to life is an honor for me.”

Dr. Rick Stripling, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said, “The Student Government Association has long provided leadership through various initiatives. The development of a Student Recreation and Wellness Center is great example of a dream becoming reality. Recreation and wellness has become a growing interest and demand on the ASU-Jonesboro campus. Our recreation program in the past few years has doubled in the level of student participation. The current fitness facility in the Student Union quickly outgrew its space due to demand. The millennial students of today place significant value on developing healthy lifestyles by integrating exercise into their daily activities.”

Mike Gibson, Chair, ASU Board of Trustees, says of the project, “Members of the Board of Trustees were favorably impressed with the initiative shown by students who value the opportunities that would be created by a recreation and wellness center. The Board voted to endorse the project based on the enthusiasm from students and because we see this as a positive development for the university.  We commend those who are turning their dreams into reality through construction of this center.”     

All ASU-Jonesboro students will be able to use the facility by presenting a valid ASU ID. Faculty and staff members will be welcome to purchase memberships to the facility, and those memberships will allow them access to all areas and programs that are offered.

Construction will begin on the facility this summer and is expected to be completed by the beginning of the spring 2010 semester. Hastings & Chivetta Architects from St. Louis, Mo., as well as the Jonesboro firm of Brackett-Krennerich and Associates, are the facility’s architects. CDI Contractors of Little Rock is general contractor for the project.



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