California State University, Long Beach
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CSULB Breaks Ground on $61 Million Student Rec Center

Published: February 16, 2009

Student Recreation and Wellness Groundbreaking
Photo by David J. Nelson
Among the university officials on hand for the official groundbreaking of the Cal State Long Beach Student Recreation and Wellness Center were: (l-r) Dave Edwards, ASI associate executive director and director of the University Student Union; President F. King Alexander; Prospector Pete, CSULB mascot; ASI President Erin Swetland; Andrea Taylor, vice president, University Relations and Development; Douglas Robinson, vice president, Student Services; and Richard Haller, ASI executive director.

Nearly 200 students, faculty, staff and others gathered recently for the official groundbreaking of the CSULB Student Recreation and Wellness Center on ground that used to be the Parking Lot 11.

The $61 million center is expected to be completed in about 18 months with an anticipated opening in fall 2010.

The 126,000-square-foot facility will feature weight and fitness machines, cardio theater, a wellness center, a rock-climbing wall, indoor running track, basketball/volleyball/badminton courts, multi-activity courts, outside recreation pool and spa, sand volleyball, racquetball courts, a health-food shop, personal trainers and group fitness classes.

Still, CSULB President F. King Alexander sees the center as more than a workout location.

“This will not simply be a place to exercise. It will be a place where people will build lifelong friendships and networks; a place where students, faculty and staff exchange ideas and help one another; a place our graduates will fondly remember when thinking back to their collegiate days,” Alexander said at the groundbreaking. “And it will be a place that helps us fulfill our promise to our students to give them a comprehensive collegiate educational experience, one that we all know extends beyond the classroom.”

Before coming to CSULB, Alexander was the president at Murray State University (MSU) in Kentucky. During his tenure there, he oversaw the addition of a recreation and wellness center at that campus. He experienced and witnessed the difference it made at MSU, and he said he expects the same impact at CSULB.

In addition to instilling good exercise and health habits, ASI President Erin Swetland noted that the center would also provide employment opportunities for students.

“The Student Wellness and Recreation Center will be a place for students to work out, relax, eat healthy food and socialize, but just as important, the new facility will also provide 200 to 300 jobs for students on campus,” said Swetland, who pointed out that the center would also provide surfboard and boogie board rentals.

“As a student and graduating senior, to me this recreation and wellness center is especially meaningful because I know that as an alumna I will be able to come back to campus and be just as active and engaged as ever,” she added. “I look forward to 20 years from now coming back once more and sharing stories with my family about today – breaking ground on this building with you.”

Dave Edwards, ASI associate executive director and director of the University Student Union who emceed the groundbreaking, focused on how the new facility would help break down the stereotype of CSULB as a commuter campus with students feeling a stronger sense of community and connection with the campus. He also explained how the center would break the mold of the traditional recreation center with the assistance of the facilities designer, the award-winning Cannon Design.

“This Student Wellness and Recreation Center will be one of only two LEED Silver facilities on the campus. LEED Silver is a designation given to facilities for exceptional conservation in design and operations,” Edwards said. “Additionally, ours will be the first recreation center in the CSU with the LEED Silver designation.”

As a LEED Silver Level building, several of the center’s elements are environmentally friendly, starting with the groundbreaking itself. Pulverized asphalt from Parking Lot 11, on which the center is being built, will be reused beneath the building’s foundation. In addition, the center will use reclaimed water for irrigation, waterless urinals, adjustable lights that brighten as the day grows darker, recycled lumber, and new technology such as biometric scanners to decrease paper waste and save utilities.

“Breaking ground, breaking stereotypes and breaking the traditional mold,” he concluded, “the CSULB Student Recreation and Wellness Center will truly be a strong addition to our great campus.”