BGSU to renovate rec center for 13.4M PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Monday, 25 February 2013 10:21
An artist's rendition of the renovated Student Recreation Center at BGSU. (Photos courtesy of Bowling Green State University)
For the last 34 years, the Student Recreation Center at Bowling Green State University has been very sedentary - with few updates being made to keep the facility fit.
So on Friday, the BGSU Board of Trustees approved spending $13.4 million to renovate the center.
According to Sheri Stoll, chief financial officer, the only major upgrades since the rec center opened in 1979 have been the addition of air conditioning and replacement of the pool filtration system.
The renovations, which will start in August, will include improvements to the cardio and training area in the mezzanine, modifications of the track, replacement of flooring, renovation of restrooms, and expansion of the parking lot.
The work will also include expansion of the glass front entry, plus repairs to the roof, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire alarms and emergency generators.
The project will be financed two ways, with $11 million being paid through long-term debt, and $2.4 million by repurposing student general fees. Stoll mentioned that donations will also be accepted, noting that naming rights will be considered for the facility.  
According to Stoll, efforts will be made to keep the student rec center open for use during the renovations.
Albert Colom, vice president of enrollment management at BGSU, explained to the trustees the importance of having nice recreational facilities, residence halls and learning spaces for prospective students to see when they tour the campus.
"It makes a tremendous difference," Colom said.
One trustee asked if it might make more sense to build a new recreational facility rather than spend so much on renovations. However, it was estimated that building a new center would cost between $50 million and $80 million.
Also at the meeting, the trustees approved the spending of $4.8 million to build a learning space prototype on the second floor of Olscamp Hall. Stoll called the project "incredibly dynamic and exciting."
An artist's rendition of the plans for the inside of the new Student Recreation Center
Steve Krakoff, head of capital planning at BGSU, referred to the project as a "sandbox" testing environment. It would create a learning library to understand the best settings for new teaching technologies and pedagogies.
The Olscamp project will be a departure from traditional classrooms and instead offer the "next generation classroom" designed for teaching the skills of problem solving and collaboration, Krakoff explained.
Krakoff said the goal is to transform teaching and learning at BGSU, and figure out now the best way to do that before the university spends any more money on new classroom space.
The Olscamp second floor will be transformed into "flexible teaching and learning space," where more people can be taught more effectively. The area will feature moveable partitions and different seating arrangements. After the classrooms have been used for a semester, input will then be sought from faculty and students.
In other business, the trustees approved spending $800,000 to move the Honors Learning Community from Harshman to the first floor of Founders Hall.
According to Stoll, participation in BGSU's honors program has been "static," unlike the growth at other universities. The move to Founders could make the program more appealing to students, she said.
"It gives the people responsible for it a chance to grow it," Stoll said.
Also at the meeting, the trustees approved spending:
• $599,000 for fire alarms at Kreischer residence hall.
• $588,000 for fire alarms at four buildings at the Firelands campus.
• $4.25 million for new roofs on the Levis Commons book depository, Business Administration Building, Education Building, Founders Hall, Offenhauer Towers and Overman Hall; roof repairs to Kohl and Kreischer residence halls; and masonry work on the Education Building, Eppler North, Mileti Center and the Tech Building.

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