Winter hasn’t hindered Campus Recreation Center construction

Tori Lentz, Assistant News Editor

Tori Lentz

The completion of the $48 million Campus Recreation Center construction remains on track for the Fall 2015 semester despite recent snow and cold weather, according to project officials.

“We’re very close to being on schedule,” Brad Lehman, project manager, said. “We’ve had a few very minor setbacks but nothing that’s going to delay the project from opening on time.”

The project, which will more than double the current center’s recreation space at 186,000 square feet, could get off schedule however if NKU experiences the kind of winter it had last year, according to University Architect Steve Nienaber. Construction is currently focused on expanding the exterior shell of the structure, a phase that will continue through the winter months, Nienaber said.

“As soon as we get enclosed, glass on the exterior, temporary heat in place, then the guys inside can work, but you know, storms and this cold in November is not something you plan for,” Nienaber said.

He said the majority of setbacks experienced during the first few months of construction have stemmed from small excavation issues.

“We have really bad soil at NKU and we did hit some areas that we had to excavate deeper to get rid of bad material,” Nienaber said. “Engineers have to be involved to test the soil so that took some time to complete.”

Campus Recreation Center Director Matt Hackett said construction has impacted the current recreation facilities, which will remain open throughout construction.

“We’re down to one racquetball court and the track is offline,” Hackett said. “There’s some inconvenience for people in terms of noise and dust, but it’s a very big construction site and a very major construction project that’s going on.”

Beginning at the start of winter break, current workout equipment and activities normally held in the multipurpose room will be relocated to basketball court three while indoor renovations begin. According to Hackett, Campus Recreation has also reached an agreement with the athletic department allowing students to use Regents Hall in the evenings for additional gym space for activities such as intramural sports and open recreation basketball.

“We might actually end up with a little more space than we usually have in the spring,” Hackett said.

The new Campus Recreation Center will have the distinction of elite silver status, meaning the building will be as sustainable as Griffin Hall due to its energy efficiency design. Geothermal energy from wells 500 feet below the ground will heat and cool the building, according to Nienaber.

“The lighting, lights controls, HVAC systems, all of those things are more efficient than in any building we would have done 10 years ago,” Nienaber said.

The building will also feature more natural light, soft seating and lounge space than the previous center, according to Lehman.

Blueprints for the project show plans for three new basketball courts, 12,000 more square feet of weight room space, two additional fitness studios, an indoor soccer court, eight competitive lap lanes, a diving well and outdoor bouldering wall.

Hackett said he is looking forward to the completion of the project and the more than 100 new jobs the new facility will bring.

“Before it was just a hole out back but now it’s starting to look like something.”