Guests Wowed by New Student Recreation Center
By Doug Carroll
The “oohs” and “aahs” were plentiful on Friday morning as faculty, staff and invited guests toured the new Student Recreation Center on campus, a 55,000-square-foot showplace soon to become a bustling hub of activity at GCU.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and subsequent tour had the feel of a sneak preview. The facility’s official debut will take place in a week, on Oct. 15, when it is opened to students and staff and to formal practice for the Antelope men’s and women’s basketball teams and wrestling team.
The SRC is the work of Tempe firm Architekton and UEB Builders, which finished the job in less than a year’s time. The concrete floor was poured in mid-April.
“If you think it looks good from the outside, wait until you see the inside,” said Bob Machen, GCU’s campus development project manager, before CEO Brian Mueller and Executive Chairman of the Board Brent Richardson cut a purple ribbon at the center’s southeastern corner.
Student workers helped guide the visitors inside, showing off the three regulation basketball courts, wood-paneled locker rooms and weight-training equipment that is state of the art.
“I really like what it opens up for employees and students,” said Ashley Kline, a junior biology major who will work part time at the SRC. “There will actually be classes on how to use the machines. I love the atmosphere of this place.”
About three dozen students have been hired to work at the facility, according to Chuck Howard, the strength and conditioning coach for GCU’s athletic teams. Howard has overseen much of what has gone into the training areas for athletics and the rest of the student population.
“It has great equipment,” Howard said of the SRC, “but what will make the facility the best is the people in it.”
Mueller said GCU is fortunate amid a challenging economic climate to be expanding as it has been. A new residence hall opened in August, a College of Education classroom building will open in December and a 5,000-seat Event Center will be ready next fall. The University has a record campus enrollment of nearly 3,000 students this fall.
“We’re humbled by this,” Mueller said. “With our gratefulness comes responsibility. This building will give us an opportunity to demonstrate our gratefulness like no other. We’re all going to get to use it.”
Russ Pennell, the head coach of the Antelope men’s basketball team, said he “had nothing to do with this, but I get to participate in it” and said he saw a divine purpose at work in the facility’s opening.
“This is a measure of God’s grace,” Pennell said. “It’s humbling, and it’s a great privilege.”
Jared Hock, a sophomore majoring in sports management who will work at the SRC, said he’s ready to shoot hoops.
“It’s a lot bigger than it looks from the outside,” said Hock, who toured the interior for the first time only two days before. “There’s a lot of stuff in here.”
After its formal opening, the Student Recreation Center will have hours of 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Contact Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or at email@example.com.