The ribbon is cut, officially opening UIS' new Recreation and Athletic Center. Photo by Will Vautrain
SPRINGFIELD – Calling it a great day for the University of Illinois at Springfield, Chancellor Richard Ringeisen, along with UIS students and other dignitaries, gathered today to celebrate the official opening of the university's new Recreation and Athletic Center.
Many members of the Springfield community and UIS campus attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony held just outside the north entrance of the $16.2 million two-story facility. "This glistening new Center with its open, energetic design symbolizes UIS' progress in building a dynamic campus for our students," Ringeisen said. "It also represents the unfolding of 'possibilities' for this university as we pursue our aspiration of being one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the nation."
The Center increases by more than 47,000 net square feet the amount of space for recreation, fitness, and indoor athletic events at UIS. It features a 3,000-seat performance arena with three collegiate-length basketball and volleyball courts, an elevated running track, two racquetball courts that convert to squash courts, cardio/weight training areas, and a multi-purpose exercise room.
Home to the Prairie Stars varsity men's and women's basketball teams and women's volleyball team, the Center is primarily funded by student fees, as well as a $1 million gift from the Hoogland Family Foundation of Charles and Kathleen Hoogland.
"We are grateful for the vision and commitment on the part of those forward-thinking students. Their support for the Center will have a far-reaching effect on the campus and the thousands of future students who will benefit from having access to such a wonderful facility," Ringeisen said.
"We are also grateful for the great generosity and kindness of Kay and Charles Hoogland, whose gift has allowed us to enhance the facility in ways that would have not otherwise been possible," Ringeisen said.
The 72,000 gross-square-foot facility, located just west of Kiwanis Stadium on the south edge of the campus, is the sixth major permanent building constructed at UIS. It joins Brookens Library (1975), the Public Affairs Center (1980), the Health & Sciences Building (1992), Lincoln Residence Hall (2001), and University Hall (2004).
In addition, a series of new townhouse units has just been completed at UIS, and construction of a second residence hall on Eliza Farnham Drive is now under way.