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April 2014

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UREC Addition and Renovation Information

James Madison University Recreation is delighted to announce that construction has begun on the renovation and expansion of the UREC facility. View construction photos.

The expansion will total approximately 140,000 square feet of new space (currently UREC is a 140,700 square foot facility) and 17,500 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.

UREC Addition

Student Demand

“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.

Green Construction

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 Expansion

The expansion space will be located on the site directly behind UREC (on the former site of the lower turf) which is now fenced in and closed to through-traffic. This phase of construction is expected be completed in December of 2015, at which point the new facilities are expected to be open for use starting in January of 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.)
  • Five Group Fitness Studios (Two mind-body spaces, one group cycling space, and two general use spaces. The current studios will be renovated for other uses.)
  • Two Super Multi-Activity Center Gym and Court spaces, with two regulation basketball and volleyball courts in each, with integrated goals for indoor soccer (The current single court MAC Gym will be renovated for other uses.)
  • Special Events Gym (This court space will include two basketball and volleyball courts, and include batting cages and floor hockey goals.)
  • Indoor Track (The new 1/6 mile track will be intended for running and jogging. The current 1/9 mile indoor track will remain and will be intended for walking and slower jogging.)
  • Fitness and Instructional Pool (The new pool will be slightly warmer in temperature, and will feature a jetted fitness channel, in-water volleyball court and basketball hoops).

Spaces in Renovation

The renovation phase of construction is expected to take place between January 2016 and Summer 2016. The completed expansion and renovation is planned to be fully operational by Fall semester 2016. The following facilities will be included in the renovated space:

  • Adventure Center with free-standing Climbing Wall, Bouldering Wall, Bicycle Repair Center, and Outdoor Equipment Check-Out (Planned for the current MAC Gym.)
  • Demonstration Kitchen and Wellness Instruction (Planned for the current Fitness Level 1.)
  • Wellness Suite with Studios for: Massage, Personal Training, Assessment, small group fitness instruction and Athletic Training (Planned for the current Fitness 2 and Group Multipurpose Studio.)
  • Club Room (Instructional/meeting space for groups of up to 200 people. Planned for the second floor of the current MAC Gym.)
  • Universal Changing/Restrooms (3) – (Restroom/changing spaces for use by families with small children, people with disabilities or a caregiver, and trans* individuals,  planned for the current Fitness 1.)
  • Faculty and Staff Locker Rooms (Planned for the current Fitness 1.)
  • Wet/Dry Classroom (Planned for the current Fitness 1.)
  • Expanded D-Lot Parking (planned at old tennis court location by Duke Dog Alley)

View the UREC Addition/Renovation Plan Renderings.

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 until the expansion opens. The Courtyard is now temporarily closed, and the Hydrotherapy Spa and Sauna, Wet Classroom, four lower outdoor Tennis Courts and Lower Turf are now permanently 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).

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