For Immediate Release
August 22, 2006
University officials, students and community members kicked-off the construction of the new Recreation, Education and Kinesiology (REK) Center, on Tuesday, August 22 with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The event started the groundwork for a $25 million facility, spreading over 150,000 sq. ft. at the corner of University Boulevard and Ringgold Street.
“This is a day that students have been waiting for a long time,” Abraham Ponce, Student Government Association (SGA) president said during the groundbreaking. “The Rec-ing crew worked hard to make this happen and it was the icing on the cake to have the community approve the bonds.”
The facility is the first of the seven projects in the $68 million bond package, which was approved by voters in November 2004. Financing for REK Center is also coming from student fees.
The center, set to open fall 2008, is a planned to be a campus recreation zone, and include everything from classrooms, faculty offices, a motor development, exercise and physiology labs, as well as racquetball courts, a weight room and lap pool.
“The gym is currently the area most used for play,” UTB/TSC President Juliet V. Garcia said. “It is simple, not large and old. People remember the gym on campus from 20 years ago, 30 years ago, even 40 years ago. Other places have (a recreation center) why not us?”
In 2004, a group of students called the “Rec-ing Crew” persuaded students to approve a raise in student fees to pay for the new building.
The group also toured other campuses across the state to provide ideas for the development of the center, said Edward Camarillo, UTB/TSC alumnus and former SGA President.
The “Rec-ing crew,” along with advisory committees and input form the community, faculty, staff and students have been meeting since August 2005 to oversee REK Center and other bond projects.
“We knew if we were going to grow as a university at this time, when the state could not help us, it was up to a group of students who could,” Camarillo said. “We have impacted future students and scorpions and it is a great day for UTB.”
The same bond will also pay for new classrooms, a music education building, a library, renovations to the existing library, early childhood studies center and an Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer and heart disease research center.
“We are seeing the results of voters yes to the $68 million bond issue,” TSC Board of Trustees Chair, Chester Gonzalez, said. “The voters put trust in this board to invest it. This is an assurance to the community that this trust is grounded.”