Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, is moving forward with a $7.8 million expansion of its recreation center.
The university’s board of trustees has approved a plan to add about 17,000 square feet to the existing facility.
Kate Harmon, campus recreation director, says the additional space will help the university address the demand for recreation and fitness programs that has grown with a steady increase in student enrollment as Grand Valley has evolved into more of a residential campus.
“From 1995 to now, enrollment has risen 85 percent,” says Harmon. “We now have 25,000 students. We have more than 350,000 visits a year to the recreation center.”
The additional space will be used to provide more equipment and expand opportunities for weight and cardio training so that students can work out with minimal waiting. Currently, students sometimes have to wait 20 to 40 minutes before equipment is available, Harmon says.
Expanding recreation opportunities also will benefit students, Harmon says, because college students who take part in such programs tend to do better academically.
The addition is scheduled to be completed in 2016. The added space will help, Harmon says, but university officials are developing plans for further expansion to accommodate demand as more students are committed to improving their health and as the number of intramural teams and club sports grows.
“We need more space for traffic flow, for the front desk, for locker rooms,” Harmon says. “These are all great problems to have. The popularity is not going away.”