LOWELL - The University of Massachusetts Lowell will unveil its $19.5 million Campus Recreation Center - a 65,000-square-foot brick, glass and steel facility - at opening ceremonies next week.
State and local officials will join with UMass Lowell Chancellor William T. Hogan for the official opening on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m.
A highlight of the afternoon's festivities will be a student relay beginning at the oldest building, Coburn Hall on south campus, and ending at the Campus Center, with a key to "open" the newest facility. The final distance will be completed by Rob Sampson, a junior who uses a wheelchair, which also will highlight the accessibility of the building.
"This is a long-awaited project that will play an important role for every generation of Lowell student from this year forward," said Athletics Director Dana Skinner. "This new center provides the heartbeat of the campus. It enables us to integrate the recreational program with other campus activities and complement the terrific academic experience that already exists."
The center boasts three basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a squash court, two multi-purpose studios, a one-eighth-mile seamless rubber compound running track, a 6,500-square-foot dual-level fitness area, a game area complete with pool tables and table tennis, and two fully equipped locker rooms.
The new facility will mean students will not have to compete for recreational space with the University's varsity athletes, for whom Costello Gym will be a dedicated facility with the exception of the swimming pool.
"We're talking about a facility that will touch the lives of every physically active student on campus," said Recreational Sports Director Brad Navis. "It's a real quality-of-life upgrade for everyone involved."
The fitness area alone, which features mirrored walls and an eight-speaker sound system, includes 50 cardio-vascular machines, strength training equipment and a separate stretching area. For those looking to relax, a lounge area with a big-screen TV and seating for about 40 people was created adjacent to an outdoor patio.
Lowell area state legislators secured initial funding in 1995 for the Campus Center, which broke ground in December 2000. The facility was designed by Architectural Resources Cambridge and built by Consigli Construction.
UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is deeply committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that bring value to the region. Second largest of the UMass campuses, Lowell currently offers its more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students 90 different degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Health Professions, and Management, as well as the Graduate School of Education.