By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
The hub of student activity on the Grand Canyon University campus is clearly the circular area of the Promenade that intersects with the Student Union building, the intramural lawn and the swimming pool, with Thunder Alley and the Rec Center also nearby.
That may change a little in the near future.
A second swimming pool is scheduled to be built in an open space surrounded by the Sedona, Chaparral and Saguaro residence halls at the northeast section of campus. The pool will be accompanied by another fitness center, an exercise science lab, a convenience store, an indoor lounge area, and an outdoor ramada.
“As you can tell of late, the pool has been hopping,” said Pastor Tim Griffin, dean of students at GCU. “It’s all about relaxing and taking a breath before charging toward graduation and summer break.
“We just thought that we needed another pool and the footprint of that area (on the north campus) was conducive to that," Griffin said. "We wanted to create a lifestyle and a culture and a space for students to gather. It’s going to be a vibrant, busy, exciting part of campus.”
The pool will be 78 feet by 46 feet (slightly smaller than the existing pool) and includes a spa on the south end of the pool that measures 8 feet by 28 feet. The ramada area will be just south of the pool. Chaparral Hall sits just east of the pool; Saguaro is north of the pool; and Sedona is to the south.
Construction of Chaparral, Saguaro and the swimming pool area is expected to be completed this summer. Sedona was completed prior to the 2012-13 school year.
Those three dorms will house 1,800 students, though any GCU student can use the new pool and surrounding amenities.
The new fitness center will be about 4,000 square-feet and will be located on the first floor of Chaparral, along with men’s and women’s locker rooms and showers, an exercise science lab and a convenience store.
On the first floor of Saguaro, there will be a student lounge, two dance floors and classrooms (relocated from Building 9), and the ROTC offices. ROTC is moving from Prescott Hall, which will allow Spiritual Life and Residence Life to expand in the first floor of that dormitory.
Noemi Howard, manager of the Student Recreation Center, said last quarter more than 4,000 students, faculty and staff per week used the Rec Center facilities. During peak hours, time limits have to be imposed on some of the cardiovascular machines to allow everyone to use them. She also said a Zumba class had so many participants that it had to be moved from an exercise room to the gym floor.
The new fitness center, along with another fitness center that will be added to the 27th Avenue Office Center, will ease overcrowding as the University continues to grow.
“We want to be able to provide students with the same types of facilities that student-athletes get,” Howard said. “(Students) are under a lot of pressure to do well in school. They have to have that outlet. It is important for their physical and emotional well-being.”
The exercise science lab is a new facility for the College of Nursing and Health Care Profession’s exercise science program. It will feature a classroom setting as well as lab space for research and testing things such as vertical jumps, body fat, fitness, power lifting and other techniques.
“We want to be the leaders in that field and the exercise science lab will provide a top-notch facility to learn about testing techniques,” said Chuck Howard, director of athletic performance at the Student Recreation Center. “We could also bring in high schools or other outside organizations to do their testing here. … It will have everything you would see in a professional fitness facility.
In other construction news on campus:
- For the Student Union expansion, the foundation of the four-story addition has been poured and masonry is going up this week.
- Framing at the Chaparral Residence Hall is done and the roofing is complete. The outside shell is almost done as crews complete work on the stucco and windows
- At Saguaro, construction crews have finished pouring the first floor and are framing the upper floors.
- The sand volleyball courts will be moved after the sand volleyball season to the area where the Pono Construction trailer previously resided. Once that is complete, the synthetic turf intramural field will be expanded and will be able to house two full-length soccer fields.
Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or [email protected].