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IBHE approves construction of UIS recreation center project

August 10, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Tuesday approved construction of a recreation and fitness center at the University of Illinois at Springfield, bringing the $13.1 million project a step closer to reality.

UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen expressed his gratitude to the IBHE and to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees for supporting the project and understanding the vital role that the center will play in developing campus life at UIS.  “The center will be for all of our students, for those who live on campus and for those who commute to campus,” he said.

The design phase of the project will begin this fall for the multipurpose facility that will increase the space devoted to recreation and fitness at UIS from about 13,800 square feet to 66,000 square feet.  The center, to be located just west of Kiwanis Stadium and south of University Hall and Lincoln Residence Hall, will eliminate overcrowding at current facilities on campus and improve convenience and accessibility for users.

The facility is expected to be completed by August 2007.

“The programmed facility is to be large enough to support increased underclass enrollment and to facilitate the needed development of fitness, wellness, and student life programs on the campus,” said Dr. Chris Miller, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.

The center will include fitness and exercise rooms and equipment, racquet and handball courts, volleyball and basketball courts, locker rooms, a weight training room and equipment, instruction rooms, a gymnasium and performance arena.

The U of I Board of Trustees approved the project in June following a UIS student referendum held in April 2003 supporting the center’s construction. In addition, an assessment by the Division of Student Affairs in conjunction with outside and university consultants determined the need for the center based on increasing student enrollment.

Andrew Hollingsead, UIS student member of the Board of Trustees, noted, “The new recreation center will constitute the most significant step forward for student life at UIS to date. It will be a tremendous boon for our ability to recruit and retain students. Everyone involved with bringing this project to passage should be proud of their efforts.”

A total of 66 percent of the students who voted in the referendum supported establishment of a recreation facilities fee starting at $60 per semester this fall, increasing to $90 in fall 2005, and $185 in fall 2006. For UIS alumni, the referendum provided that any student who has paid the recreation center fee prior to the opening of the building will receive one semester of use for each semester they have paid the student fee.

Chancellor Ringeisen said that, given that the design and construction of the center will take about three years, “The commitment on the part of our forward-thinking students is astounding.”

For more information about the center, contact Chris Miller at 206-6581.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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