New Recreation Center Challenges Students to Greater Heights
The campus' newest landmark is located just south of the Ben H. Parker Student Center. Approaching the building from the east, your eyes are drawn to an impressive pinnacled feature clad in glass and aluminum. Stepping inside, you get a sense of the scale of the facility: Walkways and balconies encircle a high-ceilinged atrium-style lobby, and a climbing wall towers to the ceiling.
Walk a little further and you scan see down the length of the lobby to a juice bar and lounge. Table-and-chair seating near the bar, a large flat-screen TV, foosbal, pool tables, and several sofas create a relaxing space where students can refuel, unwind and socialize.
Adjacent is the Lockridge Arena, a 2,500-seat venue for varsity basketball and volleyball - it can also double as a venue for special events and other sports activities. The arena accommadates three full basketball courts, each of which can be netted off for team practice - a vast improvement over the single court that three varsity teams have been sharing in Volk Gymnasium.
On the second floor, the 5,000 square foot Adolph Coors Fitness Lab is equipped with treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, rowing machines, plate-loaded equipment and free weights. The room, which comes complete with TVs and a sound system, commands a spectacular view east toward Table Mountain.
Windows on the south wall of the Fitness Lab overlook the natatorium, which comprises an 8-lane 25-yard pool, with one- and three-meter diving boards, a hot tub in the shape of the Mines' triangular logo and tiered-seating for spectators.
Intramural and club sports will make good use of the multipurpose recreational gymnasium, where a 1/16-mile elevated jogging track encircles courts that can accommadate indoor soccer, floor hockey, basketball, and volleyball. A nearby activity room provides space for a variety of fitness classes such as yoga, aerobics, Pilates and martial arts. Also on the second floor is a general purpose meeting room that looks out over the heart of campus and opens onto the top tier of the Lockridge Arena stands.
Access to the Student Recreation Center is fee-based: Along with all members of the campus community, current members of the Alumni Association are eligible for membership at competitive rates. (Mines Recreational Sports - Membership)
After plans for the recreation Center were formalized in 2002, funding for the facility came through a number of philanthropic donations and bond financing linked to student fees, which where overwhelmingly approved in a campus-wide vote in 2004. Twenty-two months after ground was first broken in August 2005, the facility's architects - Sink Combs Dethlefs - have received a design award from Colorado's Construction magazine.
Since the beginning of the academic year, an average of 825 students and members have visited the facility each weekday, according to the director of recreational sports, Brandon Leimbach. "The Student Recreation Center has something for everyone when it comes to exercise. And the lounge areas have been incredibly popular for socializing, studying or surfing the web on our wireless network", said Leimbach.
In addition to enriching student life, the facility makes a big difference to the School's ability to recruit: "Competition among top-tier schools for high caliber students is intense," notes Vice President of Student Life Harold Cheuvront. "When academic quality and programs are relatively equal, access to extracurricular activities and recreational facilities often determine a student's college choice."
"Visitors to Mines are impressed with our campus and our location," says Bruce Goetz, director of admissions. "The Recreation Center is a crowning facility that demonstrates to both prospective students and their families that we take the quality of student life seriously."