By Helin Gao
A new 75,000-square foot fitness center that features a 50-meter swimming pool, a well-lit rock climbing room and multipurpose fitness studios will open just west of Roble Field on Santa Teresa Street on Nov. 1.
The construction of the Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, which broke ground in the summer of 2011, was initially scheduled to finish on Jan. 14, 2014, but will be finished earlier than expected, said Deputy Athletic Director Ray Purpur.
The $36-million project was mainly funded by the Arrillaga family and the Avery family, with the University covering the non-construction costs, including the design permit and the entitlement fee. While the new swimming pool accounts for $2 million of the total expense, the mechanical and electrical systems are the most expensive components of the new gym, according to Associate Vice President of Land, Buildings and Real Estate Jack Cleary.
“The pool was expensive, the air-conditioning was expensive, though the single biggest thing was the rock climbing wall,” Purpur said.
Compared to the existing rock climbing wall in the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation, the new facility not only boasts an improved lighting system and ventilation but is also larger, therefore easing the campus-wide popular demand for rock climbing facilities.
“We just want to make it bigger,” Purpur said. “There is such a huge demand for rock climbing. We turn people away, and people stand in line.”
While the new gym will closely follow the existing East Center in its design concept, it differentiates itself by providing a larger weight room equipped with lockers and showers, as well as multipurpose classroom areas for club sports program meetings and the academic portion of outdoor education.
Meanwhile, the new gym will also follow a system of LEED-based performance guidelines required by the Santa Clara County as part of its Green Building Ordinance, stated Cleary.
Nested amid the west campus residential areas and just a few steps away from the engineering quad, the new gym promises to bring sporting facilities within easy access of west campus residents.
“For exercise and campus recreation, you want a place that is convenient,” Purpur said. “So all of the students and faculties who live in that general area will have another option to be able to go and have open recreations.”
According to Purpur, the gym will also serve the new west-campus housing units that the University plans to add in the coming years.
Purpur stated that there would be an open house accompanying the grand opening, which had to be pushed back from the first week of classes due to a few obstacles. Although the main body of the building is complete, the installation of landscaping, interior finishes and equipment and system commissioning are still ongoing.
According to Cleary, construction will be completed on schedule and the gym will be open to students once occupancy permits are granted by the Santa Clara County.