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Michelle Green

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UIS breaks ground for new recreation and athletic center

July 27, 2006

An artist's conception of one of the entrances to The Recreation and Athletic Center, scheduled for completion next summer. To see more images, click on the link in the box below.

SPRINGFIELD – University of Illinois at Springfield administrators, local legislators, the mayor of Springfield, and other dignitaries gathered today to break ground for a $16.2 million recreation and athletic center at the university.

The state-of-the-art center, which will be completed next summer, is part of the university’s strategic plan to create a more vibrant campus for a growing number of residential and commuter students.

"This new center is designed for all of our students and is expected to become the social and recreational hub of the campus," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "Throughout the country, colleges and universities are discovering what an important role recreation centers play in bringing all of their students together for recreation, fitness, wellness, and fun."

Related site

Information about & images of the new recreation and athletic center

Located just west of Kiwanis Stadium on the south edge of the campus, the center will occupy 72,000 gross square feet on two levels. That will increase by more than 47,000 net square feet the amount of space currently devoted to recreation, fitness, and indoor athletic activities at UIS.

The center will house three collegiate-length basketball and volleyball courts that can convert to a 3,000-seat performance arena, a three-lane elevated running track, two racquetball courts that convert to squash courts via a sliding glass rear wall, a large multi-purpose aerobics/exercise room, cardio and weight training areas, and recreation and athletic department offices. The gymnasium will be home to the Prairie Stars varsity men's and women's basketball teams and women's volleyball team.

A new 300-car parking lot will be constructed on the southwest side of the building.

The center is being funded by a student fee that was approved by a student referendum held in 2003. The fee of $60 per semester started in fall 2004 and has increased over the period to $185 per semester.

Ringeisen praised the vision and unselfish commitment of those "forward-thinking" students who voted for the fee. "Their support for the center will have a far-reaching effect on the campus and the thousands of future students who will benefit from this wonderful facility," he said.

The center is also being funded by a $1 million gift from the Hoogland Family Foundation of Charles and Kathleen Hoogland.  "We are very grateful for the support of the Hoogland family, whose generosity will allow us to build an even better facility," Ringeisen said. Charles Hoogland, whose family owns Family Video, a Springfield-based video rental chain, attended the ceremony.

The engineering firm of Woolpert, Inc. of Fairview Heights and architect Moody-Nolan, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, have created an open, transparent design on two levels – a first floor and mezzanine. The lobby on the first floor will extend from an entrance on the northeast side of the building facing the campus quadrangle to another entrance on the southwest side facing the new parking lot.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 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.