With a few swift jabs of shovel into soil, College President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran broke ground on the much-anticipated Fitness and Wellness Center Thursday evening.
The event featured a ceremonial ground breaking with remarks from Wilson-Oyelaran, Trustee James Heath ’78, and student athlete Grace Smith ’17.
The $9 million Fitness and Wellness Center will follow the Arcus Center as the second major construction development outlined in the College’s 2012 10-year master plan. The new building will replace the current Markin Racquet Center at the northeast corner of Catherine and Academy Streets.
During her opening address, Wilson-Oyelaran described the ways in which the center extends K’s liberal arts tradition.
“We believe that our graduates stand a better chance of improving the world when they see that world in multiple lenses…at K we also recognize that those who want to change the world must first care for themselves,” she said.
Students and faculty will have access to a two-story, 30,000 square foot facility, including a weight room and cardio fitness area, two racquet ball courts, an office and health assessment room for the campus wellness director, five multi-purpose rooms, and the George Acker Tennis Hall of Champions.
Smith, who also serves as president of the Athletic Leadership Council, described student excitement surrounding the planned amenities.
“Whether you are a weightlifter, runner, walker, biker, yoga or Pilates enthusiast, cross fitter, ninja warrior, or someone who has never set foot in a gym before, this is a place where you can find your niche,” she said. “My sister just began her first year here at K and she has already started to taunt me that she will get to use the fitness center for three years and I will only use it for one.”
Kalamazoo administrators view the project as a capstone at the end of a three-year long fundraising campaign, which officially concluded at a Tuesday luncheon on the Quad.
The fund drive, known as the Campaign for Kalamazoo College, raised $129.14 million over three years—$4.14 million above the administration’s $125 million goal.
The new building is slated for completion in the Fall of 2016.