LOWELL - The University of Massachusetts Lowell unveiled its $19.5 million Campus Recreation Center - a 65,000-square-foot brick, glass and steel facility - at opening ceremonies today.
A host of dignitaries joined Chancellor William T. Hogan and Athletics Director Dana Skinner to celebrate the facility designed to serve the recreational needs of the entire UMass Lowell community.
"This is a long-awaited project that will play an important role for every generation of Lowell student from this year forward," said Skinner. "This new center provides the heartbeat of the campus. It enables us to integrate the recreational program with other campus activities and complement the terrific academic experience that already exists."
Among those extending their congratulations were U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan; State Sen. Steven Panagiotakos; State Representatives Thomas Golden, David Nangle, Kevin Murphy and Colleen Garry; UMass President William Bulger; UMass Board of Trustees Chair Grace Fay; State Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner (DCAM) David Perini; Lowell Mayor Rita Mercier; and Lowell City Councilors Bill Martin and Armand Mercier.
"Today's opening is the culmination of more than a decade of planning, hard
work and perseverance," said State Sen. Panagiotakos. "I'm proud to be part of effort that made this campus center a reality. It will undoubtedly serve to enhance the already stellar reputation of UMass Lowell."
The center has three basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a squash court, two multi-purpose studios, a one-eighth-mile seamless rubber compound running track, a 6,500-square-foot dual-level fitness area, a game area complete with pool tables and table tennis, and two fully equipped locker rooms.
The fitness area alone, which features mirrored walls and an eight-speaker sound system, includes 50 cardio-vascular machines, strength training equipment and a separate stretching area. For those looking to relax, a lounge area with a big-screen TV and seating for about 40 people was created adjacent to an outdoor patio.
The new facility will mean students will not have to compete for recreational space with the University's varsity athletes, for whom Costello Gym will be a dedicated facility with the exception of the swimming pool.
About 200 students, faculty and staff attended the opening celebration, which coincided with the first day of classes and included tours, games and demonstrations. A highlight of the festivities was a six-student relay beginning at the oldest building on campus and ending at the newest, the Campus Center, with a ceremonial key to open the door presented to Student Government Association President John Harrison.
Lowell area state legislators secured initial funding in 1995 for the Campus Center, which broke ground in December 2000. The facility was designed by Architectural Resources Cambridge and built by Consigli Construction. The project was managed on behalf of the University by DCAM.
UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is deeply committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that bring value to the region. Second largest of the UMass campuses, Lowell currently offers its more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students 90 different degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Health Professions, and Management, as well as the Graduate School of Education.