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By Máiréad Loschi

An email announcement sent Thursday morning by Undergraduate Student Government President Rachel Conboy unveiled the planned location for the new Student Recreation Center on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus.

According to the email, the new 200,000 square foot facility will house an extensive Fitness Center, five basketball courts, a running track, an aquatics center, wellness center, squash and racquetball courts, and flexible space for club sports and UConn Recreation activities. For some UConn students, like sophomore Olivia, this is a welcome addition.

“I think it’s a really good idea because I know a lot of people have been talking about having a new Rec Center since ours is so old,” Olivia said.

The new facility is slated to be built along Hillside Road on the site where the Connecticut Commons residence hall currently stands. Connecticut Commons is set to be demolished by 2017 to make way for the new Student Recreation Center.

Colby, a sophomore chemical engineering major, who currently lives in Connecticut Commons said the demolition is in the best interest of the campus.

“I feel fine about it,” he said. “The Rec Center needs an update really badly and CTC is really old.”

The addition of a new recreation center was outlined in the 2015 Master Plan, but the location is not consistent with what the original plan presented. Conboy explained how the planning committee arrived at the final location.

“It’s in the center of campus and it barely houses anyone, so that space could be utilized way better,” she said.

Connecticut Commons is set to be demolished by 2017 to make way for a new Student Rec Center on the site.

Connecticut Commons is set to be demolished by 2017 to make way for a new Student Rec Center on the site. (Image Credit: Alyssa Dillon)

Connecticut Commons is currently devoted to honors student housing.

The email sent Thursday said the construction of a new STEM Residence Hall would absorb the number of displaced beds.

The Master Plan includes the construction of another honors residence hall to supplement the displaced housing.

The construction of a new Student Recreation Center raises questions about the role of the existing facility.

In the short term, after the new building opens, the existing recreation center will be used primarily by athletics and club sports.

A statement issued by University Spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz outlined the costs and fees of the project. The entire project will cost approximately $100 million. It will be repaid through student fees of $250 per semester for undergraduate students and $200 per semester for graduate students.

The email sent by Conboy said the fee won’t be charged until the new facility is opened.

A USG appointed Rec Center Advisory Committee comprised of 13 UConn students will be greatly involved in the construction and development of programming at the new Student Recreation Center.

Conboy said planning the project will be very hands on.

“All the programming space and all the other space we have to work with, student’s will pick,” she said.

Connecticut Commons is set to be demolished by Summer 2017. Construction of the new recreation center will begin that same year and the facility is anticipated to open in fall 2019.

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