Recreation Center Praised as Cutting-Edge Facility
GCU’s new Student Recreation Center, described as “futuristic” by the contractor on the project, was celebrated with a topping-off ceremony on Friday, June 11, less than four months after ground was broken on the facility.
The center, a pre-engineered metal building wrapped on its northern and eastern sides by conventional construction, has saved the University time and expense while erecting a facility that figures to be the envy of other colleges and universities and their athletic programs. It is scheduled to open in mid-October.
“This building probably will change our campus as much as any building we’ve ever built,” said GCU’s chief executive officer, Brian Mueller, in addressing those assembled for the topping off. “It will be a central part of what we do at Grand Canyon.”
Garry Musselman, the project manager for UEB Builders of Scottsdale, said that if the center isn’t unique, it’s at least uncommon.
“It’s like building two different buildings,” said Musselman, whose crew has numbered about 75 workers per day. “The hybrid form is pretty futuristic. You don’t often see two different types of buildings integrated like this.”
The speed of construction has surprised even Tom Reilly of the Tempe design firm Architekton, which has done similar facilities — but none quite like this one.
“The special component here was combining the recreation center with aspects for student-athletes,” Reilly said. “It’s a natural fit. This is set up to take your campus to the next level. It’s a first-class facility.”
The facility’s pre-engineered shell will house three regulation basketball courts for use by GCU’s men’s and women’s teams and the ground-student population.
The ground level also will include training and weightlifting facilities, a film-viewing room and locker rooms for the Antelopes’ basketball teams and for students.
The basketball teams will use the westernmost court for practice, and curtains will enable the courts to be sectioned off.
“Other Division II and many Division I programs don’t have facilities like these,” said Phil Cullen, an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, who has been watching the facility go up behind the athletic offices at Kaibab Enrollment Center.
“We’re so grateful for this. We can really showcase our facilities to recruits.”
Trent May, head coach of the women’s basketball team, was similarly appreciative.
“This is a great commitment by GCU,” May said, “and it’s evidence of the great things happening on campus. It will be a huge asset and resource for everyone. Many will benefit.”
The second floor will house a wrestling gym and locker room, along with coaches’ locker rooms and aerobics and fitness areas for common use.
“Our executive administration is doing wonderful things to enhance the experience of all students who come here, not just our athletes,” said Athletic Director Keith Baker.
The biggest piece of the current wave of athletic improvements, the 5,000-seat Event Center on the southeastern corner of campus, is scheduled to open in time for the 2011-12 basketball season.
Groundbreaking festivities for the Event Center will be at 8 a.m. on June 25.