By Kelline Linton, Chief Copy Editor
Construction has saturated the ACU campus lately from residence halls to the new Welcome Center, but the Gibson Health and P.E. Center has forever escaped the same fate, until now. Demolition begins for the ACU Student Wellness and Recreation Center roughly in the March/April timeframe, said Bob Nevill, director of physical resources.
The Gibson Center will retain most of its structure, but the interior space will be demolished and repurposed. The supporting structure and roof of the building are the only major components that will not change, and the new recreation center will be in the same general shape as the Gibson Center, a “t” form with the long leg tying into Moody Coliseum.
“But it will be larger, considerably; maybe 20,000 square feet larger,” Nevill said, “and it will be around 85,000 square feet when completed.”
The two-story building will have an additional pool that will connect to the existing pool already in the Gibson Center.
“It will be much more leisure oriented pool with maybe a Jacuzzi and lazy river,” Nevill said.
The building’s plans also include a climbing wall, basketball courts, free weight and aerobic areas, numerous gathering places and an indoor running track that encircles the second floor.
“You can look over the rail of the running track and see the basketball courts and the swimming pool down below,” Nevill said. “The idea is to have it much more open.”
The building design picks up elements from existing buildings around campus, like the standard brick most of them incorporate. One of the architecture firms designing the recreation center, Title Luther, also worked on the Welcome Center.
The university expects the building to be an inviting open structure, Nevill said.
“It should look like a state-of-the-art exercise facility,” he said.
The building designs also are green in most of the concepts.
“It’ll have a lot of ledes features about it,” Nevill said.
Once construction begins, it will take 18 to 20 months to completely finish, and the estimated cost of the new center is $15 million to $20 million, he said.
The building’s plans focus on student hangout places and building community on campus.
“The more ways we have for students to gather on campus in a social way has real value, it builds community,” Nevill said. “It’s all part of having a facility that enhances that student living experience.”