Friday, June 24, 2005

Expansion of Health and Kinesiology Center at SHSU running behind

Information and an explanation about the construction of the new addition to the Health and Kinesiology Complex:
By Matt Pederson, Item Staff Writer

The walls are up, the pool has been laid and the boulder has been placed inside, but still there is a lot of work to be done at Sam Houston State's expanding Health and Kinesiology Center.

"The structural part of the pool has been installed and that still has to be finished," SHSU physical plant director Douglas Greening said. "The brick work on the outside is complete, as are the windows, so it's getting pretty weathered in."

With the building's shell complete, the landscaping, the interior and the furnishings still have to be taken care of.

"They have the whole outside to landscape or lay asphalt and concrete," Greening said. "They are still finishing Sheetrock on the interior, and there's a lot of inspection that needs to be done."

Although the building was scheduled to be completed by the time school starts this fall, Greening believes students will have to wait another semester before taking full advantage of the new services.

"I don't believe they're going to make an August completion. I think we're going to be looking more towards being ready for the spring semester," he said.

Physical plant assistant director John McCroskey said a majority of the setbacks came from a heavy spring rainfall. While rain would affect most projects to some degree, he said the HKC was especially affected because of its location.

"It sits in a little hole and all the rest of the campus drains to that site, so when it rains, all the water runs through the area they're working in," McCroskey said.

When the addition is complete, one of the most significant features will be a 10,000 square-foot weight room, complete with weight training, cardiovascular machines, circuit training machines, a 34-foot rock wall and a 12-foot boulder for students to climb on. The HKC's current weight room is just under 3,000 square feet, and SHSU recreational sports assistant director Kevin McKinney said its eventual purpose is undetermined.

"A nice feature with the new weight room is that we're going to have some natural lighting," McKinney said. "If you drive by and see a lot of glass, a lot of that is for the weight room."

The renovated area will also feature a swimming pool. While it will not be large enough for competitive swimming, the pool will have a number of recreational and intramural uses.

"With intramural sports, we can now offer some aquatic intramurals, which are at a lot of campuses," McKinney said. "One thing that is popular is called inner tube water polo.

"It (also) gives us the opportunity to do some other programming even on the fitness side, like waterobics and things like that."

While construction is going on in the building, it has not interfered too much with the day-to-day operations of the building. There have been a few minor inconveniences, though, such as the indoor track being temporarily closed.

"The reason the upper-level track is shut down is because you will be able to access the indoor track from the new side as well the old side, so they need to go in there and create some type of an entry," McKinney said. "There are also things like observation windows on the track, so when you're running, you'll be able to look down on the weight room and on the new side."

McKinney said the track should reopen in the next 11 to 12 days.