Recreation center has it all

Lacey - Saint Martin's University junior Nicole Fernandez is no student-athlete, but the biology major still likes to shoot hoops now and then.

That’s become much easier since last week’s opening of the university’s new 36,000-square-foot recreation facility.

“I’ve been here every day for a week, practically,” she said. “I was at the Y (YMCA), but now it’s free.”

Students at Saint Martin’s have a new place to work out, the institution’s first new athletic facility since the completion of Marcus Pavilion in the 1970s.

The university raised money for the building through its Winning Spirit Campaign, which raised more than $5 million for athletic facilities including the new track and soccer field. According to the university’s Web site, the campaign aims to raise $7.65 million.

The projects are the latest in a flurry of construction at the university.

Harned Hall, a classroom building, and Parsons Hall, the freshman residence hall, were completed in fall 2008. In 2004-05, the campus dining room was expanded and Spangler Hall, a residence hall for upper classmen, was completed.

The recreation center has been the last of the planned construction, but university officials continue to evaluate whether more will be necessary in the future for academic needs, spokeswoman Genevieve Chan said.

The new, two-story recreation center is for any student, not just those involved in organized athletics, Chan said.

“What we really needed for the students as additional space for exercising,” she said.

The recreation center includes a gymnasium, an indoor track, a weight room and a dance studio, which also is used for classes such as yoga and cardio.

Before the recreation center opened, students had a small weight room, where many athletes would train, and the basketball courts were open when they were available.

“It was availability that was the issue, scheduling time around practices, games and events,” said Dan Barfoot, assistant men’s basketball coach and one of the three supervisors of the facility. “Now they have a space of their own.”

Josh Devaughn, a freshman business major and track team member, said that when he arrived on campus, he and others were excited about the new facility. He especially likes running on the indoor track, which also features nice views of campus.

“It gives you a place to run, even when it’s not nice outside and when it’s cold,” he said. “I hate running in the cold.”

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