UREC Addition and Renovation
James Madison University Recreation is now under construction for the addition and renovation of the UREC facility! The addition will total 137,815 square feet of new space (currently UREC is a 140,700 square foot facility) and 25,128 square feet of renovated space. The facility will be completed in two phases, one for the addition, and one for the renovated areas which will take an additional six months to complete once those spaces are vacated.
“It's like the hunger games trying to find an open machine in UREC right now,” “Ugh I hate how crowded UREC is,” and “PSA: half of JMU is in UREC right now so stay as far away as possible.” These are just a few of the frustrated tweets you will find if you search for “UREC” on Twitter. In fact, all of these were tweets from JMU students on one day: January 13, 2014.
Step into UREC during the Fall or Spring semester between the hours of 3pm until 9pm on a weekday and you will see that these students are not exaggerating. In 1996, UREC was constructed to meet the demands of a student body of 12,500. With a student body now close to 20,000, the need for an expansion has been pressing for 5-10 years. A busy day in the late nineties consisted of about 2,200 students, faculty and staff frequenting the building, and today, a busy day can top 4,500 participants.
The UREC staff has been collaborating with architects since early 2012 to survey all JMU students, hold focus groups, review comment cards, and review participation information and trends to determine what facilities are most desired by JMU students. It will offer more space for overcrowded fitness and court programs, as well as new program and service areas identified by surveys and student requests.
Sustainable construction efforts are of prime importance and the plans include green practices that are intended to certify the new portion of the building as LEED Silver. Some of the major sustainable efforts include recycling the lower turf, re-using field lighting at other locations, re-using soils and natural resources, and planning for the use of natural light in the new facility.
New Spaces in Addition
The addition is located directly behind UREC (on the former site of the lower turf). This part of the building will be open for use beginning at 4pm on January 10, 2016. The following facilities will be included in the new space:
- Weight, Fitness & Cardio Spaces (These spaces will be approximately 2.5 times the size of the current space for these activities. The current fitness spaces will be renovated for other use.)
- Six Group Fitness Studios (Two mind-body spaces, one group cycling space, and three general use spaces. The current studios will be renovated for other uses.)
- Three Super Multi-Activity Centers (Gym and court spaces, with two regulation basketball and volleyball courts in each, two have integrated goals for indoor soccer and one will include batting cages and floor hockey goals.)
- Indoor Track (The new 1/6 mile track will be intended for running and jogging. The current 1/10 mile indoor track will remain and will be intended for walking and slower jogging.)
- Fitness/Instructional Pool and Spa (The new pool will feature a jetted fitness channel, in-water volleyball court and basketball hoops. The new spa will be approximately four times the size of the old Spa and will feature natural rock look with a waterfall. The Dry Sauna will reopen).
- Outdoor Courtyard (The new courtyard will be located on the back-side of the facility).
Spaces in Renovation
The renovation phase of construction is expected to take place between December 2015 and Summer 2016. As portions of the renovations are completed, they will be opened for use as soon as possible. The entire facility is expected to be complete and fully operational by the start of the Fall 2016 Semester. The following facilities will be included in the renovated space:
- Adventure Center with free-standing Climbing Wall, Bouldering Wall, instructional space, Bicycle Repair Center, and Outdoor Equipment Check-Out (Planned for the current MAC Gym.)
- Demonstration Kitchen and Wellness Instruction Room (This dual purpose room is planned for the current Fitness Level 1. When the kitchen is not in use, a partition will be closed.)
- Wellness Suite with Studios for Massage (2), Personal Training, Assessment, Small Group Exercise Instruction and an Athletic Training Room (Planned for the current Fitness 2 and Multipurpose Studio.)
- Club Room (Instructional/meeting space equipped with latest technology for groups of up to 200 people. Planned for the second floor of the current MAC Gym.)
- Universal Changing/Restrooms (3) – (Gender-neutral restroom/changing spaces planned for the current Fitness 1.)
- Faculty and Staff Locker Rooms (Planned for the current Fitness 1.)
- Wet/Dry Classroom (Aquatics and Safety instructional space for certification and educational courses. Planned for the current Fitness 1.)
- Parking (Expanded D-Lot parking planned at old tennis court location by Duke Dog Alley and additional handicap-accessible parking will be added along Driver Drive.)
- Meditation Room (Planned for current Cycle Studio).
- Squash Court (Planned for current Racquetball Court 5, which is currently the Assessment Center. A motorized wall will allow for both Racquetball and Squash to be played in the court. Also, Racquetball Court 8 will revert back to a Racquetball Court, as it is currently serving as the TRX Training Center).
- Large Traffic Turnaround (Bus stop and drop off space planned for the end of Driver Drive near the Adventure Center).
Over the Next Two Years
UREC is sensitive to the experience of current students while construction is underway. We have been working with construction managers to plan to minimize inconveniences and interruptions to facility availability. Participants can expect most spaces to remain open. The Courtyard, the Hydrotherapy Spa and Sauna, Wet Classroom are temporarily closed. Participants seeking turf space and tennis courts for informal recreation are encouraged to visit University Park. Some other facilities will experience minor disruptions from time to time (including dust and noise, and some short periods of closure) but we will make every attempt to have service interruptions during times of low activity (breaks, weekends, and early mornings).