By Morgan Korte
After years of anticipation and waiting, officials said the new campus recreation center is set to open this coming fall. A specific date has not yet been announced.
The facility is called the South Campus Recreation Center and is located across from the Whirlpool Trails within the structure of the old Whirlpool factory building.
The South Campus Recreation Center will be 98,000 square feet and have 700 parking spaces around the perimeter of the building. Buses will shuttle students every 10 minutes from the facility to the main campus. The facility will also host the William Magee Center for Wellness Education, which will be run by the wellness education department of Campus Recreation.
The original expected cost for the building was $25 million, however, Mark Garneau, assistant director of Facility Operations, said that the number has fluctuated due to unforeseen roadblocks in the construction of the new facility.
“Equipment, furniture, and electricity. These and more are costs that people would not even think about,” Garneau said.
The opening of a new facility means that the amount of student staff that works for Ole Miss Campus Recreation will need to increase, Garneau said. Currently, there are 178 students employed for Ole Miss Campus Recreation. Garneau expects this number to nearly double.
“We are still trying to figure out the exact number we need to hire,” Garneau stated. “Facility Operations could possibly double.”
Adjusting to a new staff and a new facility is exciting for the student staff of the Turner Center, but it also presents some challenges. Katie Dames is a sophomore international studies major and a customer service representative at the Turner Center.
“Getting adjusted to a new space will be a bit challenging,” Dames stated. “With our jobs in particular we are trained to recognize specific issues in the facility. So, being in a new space will take some time to adjust to the new abnormalities.”
The facility began demolition on the old factory March of 2016, and was originally expected to be completed the fall of 2018. Delays on the project were caused by weather, the renovation of an old building, and unforeseen challenges that construction crews had to overcome, Garneau said.
Jaclyn Falzarano is the current coordinator of marketing for Ole Miss Campus Recreation. She said she is excited that students will have more opportunities at the new center that they currently do at the Turner Center.
“I feel like students who may not be interested in things that the Turner Center currently offers may be interested in the things offered at new recreation center such as the bouldering wall or the demo kitchen,” she said.
The Turner Center will continue normal operations, she said. The Turner Center contains multiple classrooms and a pool, which the new facility will not have. However, the Turner Center will allow students a more central location on campus if they would like to get a quick workout in between classes. For now, current patrons of the Turner Center will be able to use their membership at both facilities.