UT Martin hosts grand opening of new state-of-the-art rec center
Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010 8:24 am
It’s a recreation center for students and funded by students, so who better to know first-hand its benefits than students?
Bryan Panovec and Rachel Lester also have the advantage of their experiences as student employees of the University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Campus Recreation. They have worked and “worked out” for several years at campus facilities.
The new $16.5 million, 96,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center was officially opened Wednesday at 95 Mt. Pelia Rd. on campus with University of Tennessee
Interim President Jan Simek and UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes were among those participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“It’s important for students to take advantage of the new facility because it is theirs,” said Panovec, an Austin, Texas, senior history and political science double major.
“There is something for everyone in the facility.” As a student who used the previous recreational facilities at least five times a week and has maintained that schedule in the new facility, Panovec has enjoyed the weight room the most so far. “But I also love seeing so many students use the SRC and hearing them speaking to each other about how awesome the SRC truly is.”
Lester, a Martin junior nursing major, thinks the new fitness center and basketball courts are the best features.
“I’ve always played sports and have been active ... I feel less stressed and better about myself after a good workout or a game of basketball.” She added, “I love to do cardio. The computerized monitors each cardio machine has allow you to plan and save each workout you do.”
Panovec said having the new center on campus “is what this campus needed to compete with other schools across the state. This will have a significant effect on visiting students, with the opportunity to help increase enrollment.”
Lester agreed and added, “... I think it helps out with offering more places and things to do.”
Gina McClure, Office of Campus Recreation director, credits students for making the center a reality and points to the much-needed space as a means to have consistent recreational time without competing for time and space with classes and athletics.
“This is something that we have not been able to provide before because of the multiple users and uses of the Elam Center.”
While the Elam Center will still be utilized, the recreational programming that is possible in the new center includes fitness classes and special events such as game nights, a variety of tournaments and “other things we haven’t thought of yet. We have the space and time to explore a multitude of things.”
“Facilities like this are really important for universities,” said Simek, who added that a university today has a responsibility for the health and well being of its community, students, faculty and staff.
Simek said another reason these facilities are important, is because students pay attention to the environment in which they are going to go to school.
“And, if you really want to attract the best and brightest students to your institution, you have to have facilities for them that are going to give them the context in which they feel they’re going to learn the best. This is not simply an exercise facility, not simply a place for students to enjoy themselves.
“Facilities like this are integral. You should all be very proud of what you’ve done here.”
“The modern recreational facility is a welcome addition to multiple playing fields, swimming pool and many other recreational sites our students enjoy on a daily basis,” said UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes.
“Student use during our trial period has been brisk, and all those involved from planning, construction, and now actual management have been vital to the completion of this facility. Our student affairs staff has moved quickly but carefully in phasing in various activities throughout the center.”
The new facility includes: four basketball courts that can convert into volleyball and badminton courts, walking/jogging balcony, three racquetball courts, fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, classroom, multipurpose and aerobics room, locker rooms, equipment checkout space and office suite.
It also has two lobbies, which provide additional leisure recreational opportunities – pool, foosball and air hockey.
The center was built primarily for students, as student fees are the funding source.
Other potential users include faculty, staff, retirees and families of UT Martin students and employees, who will pay a fee for use of the facility.
Lyle, Cook, Martin, of Clarksville and Fleming Associates of Memphis, served as project architects in a joint venture, and A&K Construction Co., of Paducah, Ky., built the center.