The $134 million Connell Recreation Center is set to open in the summer of 2019, leaving current juniors a year too early to experience it.
Caitríona Taylor, director of Campus Recreation since 2011, said the building will feature a number of new developments. When asked what students should most look forward to, Taylor responded with “air conditioning and windows.” After 45 years with the hot, windowless Plex, this new recreation center will be a significant upgrade.
Both Taylor and Mary Nardone, the associate vice president for Capital Projects Management, stressed the need for a change in a “very dark” Lower Campus. “With the windows, due to the size and energy radiating from the building, the building will be transformational to the aesthetic of the Lower Campus.”
The new building will be the first thing one sees when driving into Lower. The center will include specific program spaces such as rock climbing, a golf simulator, and a jogging track that will line the entire building and feature a hill on the track itself.
The opening date of summer 2019 was first decided upon entering the construction site. One of the biggest challenges this project faces is the site's layout. Taylor says, “Although it's a large site, it's actually a very constrained site for the lay-down of materials, so construction sequencing must be very strategic.”
However, Taylor remains optimistic. “With construction, there are always unforeseen conditions to deal with, especially when you are digging below grade. So yes, this site has had its challenges, but we were fortunate. The exploratory work we did before construction [will] inform us as much as possible.”
BC students, even those who are roused every morning by the construction, are anxiously awaiting the completion of this promising new recreation center.