Summer Rec Center construction wraps Sept. 15 after delay
A rendering showing how the locker room in the rec center will look like after construction is completed. Unforeseen obstacles have led to a month-long delay in the completion of the project.
Due to some unexpected setbacks, the locker room renovations at the Student Recreation Center are expected to be finished by Sept. 15 instead of the original Aug. 15 date.
The Rec Center locker rooms have been closed all summer for construction and were originally planned to reopen by Aug. 15. However, this was an ambitious goal, according to Peter Dourlein, the assistant vice president for planning, design and construction and campus architect for the University of Arizona, who said renovation projects usually have unexpected obstacles.
“Early on, we ran into some pretty significant extra work in demolition and structural work, which is pretty typical with a renovation,” Dourlein said. “We knew that the amount of work [that was scheduled] to be done in less than three months was pretty likely more than three months’ of work.”
These problems, which included issues with the soil and unexpected rebar, cannot be detected until the work begins. Dourlein explained that these issues are estimated into the time frame and budget. Also, the construction company, Lloyd Construction, is working under a guaranteed maximum price contract, which means there was an established maximum payment that they cannot exceed. The extension in construction time should not cost the UA anything beyond the $4,945,000 budget. In fact, Dourlein ensured the project is well within budget.
But renovations may still not be done by Sept. 15. That date could still change. According to Dourlein, the contractor is working double shifts to get this finished.
“Sept. 15 is frankly still aggressive,” Dourlein said, “but we’re pretty confident that everything will be done by then.”
The lack of locker rooms has been a slight disruption to some students who can’t as easily get changed or shower after a workout. Despite this, students are excited for the new facilities.
“It’s just kind of inconvenient, but it’s not too big of an issue,” said Matthew Smiley, a senior majoring in management and information sciences and operation management. “Besides that, I can’t wait to see what it looks like.”
Many students have also been grateful the rec center has tried to offer the full gym amenities even though there is no access to the locker rooms.
“They’re trying so hard to make it the same level of service,” said Mallary Parker, a conservation biology major. “They’re doing a pretty good job.”
Over the summer, and until these renovations are finished, students have access to portable showers and restrooms.
This project has been in the works for years now. The old locker rooms were about 25 years old and considered overdue for replacement by staff and students alike.
“A lot of complaints, I guess you could say, were about how outdated our lockers were,” said Ally Seacat, student manager at the Rec Center. “So when we found out we were getting new lockers, everyone was really excited about it.”
The process to develop the project was considered especially collaborative by Klindt Breckenridge, the president of the Breckenridge Group, the architecture firm that designed the new locker rooms. Breckenridge was delighted that so many people, including students, had a voice in this project.
“That’s really a hallmark of this process,” Breckenridge said. “Breckenridge Group has done a lot of projects on campus over the years, and we rarely have the opportunity, outside of Campus Rec, to focus on the needs of the students.”
According to some of those who worked on the design of the new locker rooms, a big part of the process was creating an inclusive environment that will accommodate everyone.
“We’re starting to create all-gender restrooms so that people of any gender can feel comfortable going into the restroom,” Dourlein said. “It’s the same thing for the showers … and that’s really just more of the norm now.”
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