New rec center makes a splash with grand opening

by | Sep 15, 2015

UMSL student leaders past and present were on hand Sept. 10 to formally commemorate the opening of the UMSL Recreation and Wellness Center.
Ribbon cutting, UMSL Recreation and Wellness Center

UMSL student leaders past and present were on hand Sept. 10 to formally commemorate the opening of the UMSL Recreation and Wellness Center. Pictured cutting the ribbon (from left) are Jericah Selby, Steven Brockman, Cameron Roark, Bennett Felton and Kristin Wyninegar – all of whom helped see the project to fruition. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Sporting state-of-the-art equipment, breathtaking spaces, more than 100 student employment opportunities and nearly 1,000 visitors per day, there’s a lot to love about the new University of Missouri–St. Louis Recreation and Wellness Center.

A formal celebration of what the facility means to the campus took place Sept. 10, with the UMSL community gathering for formal remarks and a ribbon cutting at the main entrance.

Student Government Association President Cameron Roark kicked off the event with a look back at the history of the student-driven project, for which momentum has been building for more than a decade.

“It was their [the student body’s] foresight and vision that made this building possible,” said Roark, who earlier in the day joined FOX2’s Lisa Hart on the climbing wall for a live television preview. “Through the referendum process in 2012, to the design and construction phases between 2013 and 2015, I am proud to say that students were at the table and helping to shape the building you see before you.”

The approximately 100,000-square-foot facility features a two-story climbing wall, 155,000-gallon pool, sauna, elevated indoor track, three-court gymnasium, group fitness rooms, a wide variety of cardio and strength-training equipment, a Jamba Juice corner and more.

UMSL alumna and former SGA President Jericah Selby, who graduated from UMSL in 2012 and traveled from Oklahoma to attend last week’s grand opening, called the finished project a symbol of the support UMSL provides to students.

“It illustrates the university’s willingness to listen to its students, even if it transforms the UMSL landscape,” Selby said. “The UMSL rec center is a product of hard work, dedication and collaboration – a vision that was realized.”

UM System President Tim Wolfe, UMSL Chancellor Tom George and Assistant Dean of Students Miriam Roccia also spoke at the grand opening, and tours followed the formal ceremony.

First floated as an idea in 2004, the new rec center received UMSL students’ vote of support in March of 2012 and was soon after approved by the University of Missouri System Board of Curators. The $36 million, student-fee-funded project broke ground in November 2013, with construction wrapping up in the summer of 2015. The facility opened its doors in time for the start of the fall semester in late August.

Media coverage:
KTVI (Channel 2)

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Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill

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