By Shira Tall
After much anticipation, the new University of Connecticut Student Recreation Center finally opened its doors on Sunday, August 25. Scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019, the opening for the three-story, 191,000 square foot building had been pushed back until the end of the summer.
Before opening remarks began on the north-side stairs of the building, there was a variety of activities for students: music played from speakers, t-shirts were handed out, the Dairy Bar truck scooped ice cream and photographs were taken for commemorative magnets.
Executive Director for UConn Recreation Cyndi Costanzo welcomed students, faculty and staff to the opening, taking time to recognize all the work that was put in by the Undergraduate Student Government, Graduate Student Center, student body and workers.
“I hope you soon will agree, this facility is simply amazing. As with any good outcome, it’s the collective effort that influences the best result,” she said. “From architects to engineers, the construction team to the recreation team, all contributed their expertise to this project.”
President Thomas Katsouleas made his entrance on a skateboard, joking that there was a new skate park inside. During his speech, he noted the importance of education that embodies the whole person and lifts the mind and spirit.
“The learning you do in the classroom and the lab is critical for your life of the mind but it is as important as your physical and emotional wellness and what this recreational center exists to support,” Katsouleas said.
This sentiment was echoed by junior Rachel Mufson. “Health and fitness, especially mental health, is so crucial on a college campus and a gym is a really good place to get away and clear your mind and do things that are good for your body,” Mufson said. “I love the HIIT classes here, I really feel that the trainers work with you personally to achieve your body goals.”
Alessandra Bassani, a freshman, wanted to see and experience being part of the UConn community. “Being a freshman at UConn, I wanted to come experience some of traditions and see what UConn has to offer and the Rec Center is one of the new things that is on campus and it’s great to be a part of the community and see why everybody gathers for such great things.”
Undergraduate Student Government President Priyanka Thakkar noted this sense of community when she mentioned UConn Recreation’s slogan, “Where the student body develops.”
“I would go one step further and say where the student body develops together. Like the Student Union, this is a remarkable place where students can develop personally, professionally, mentally, and physically together.” The range of amenities, such as cardio equipment, weights, an indoor track, pool, climbing center, a gymnasium and racquetball courts truly makes the new center a place for the student body to develop.