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Volume 2, Issue 4                                    University of Houston

Preliminary rec center plans unveiled

By Sylvia A. Rocha
Staff Writer

Architects and consultants working to design UH's new student recreation center met with campus representatives Thursday to discuss amenities and preliminary plans for the $48 million facility.

Hughes Group Architects, which will design the facility, unveiled a computerized preliminary rendering of the 230,000-square-foot building, as well as a version that included updates made Wednesday.

Among the features outlined by Hughes Group were a "free-zone" area, which will be accessible to anyone who walks into the facility and will offer an overview of all the center has to offer, from the swimming pools to basketball courts to the weight room.

"Some of the design objectives include enhancing campus life at UH and providing a healthy lifestyle," explained Wayne L. Hughes of Hughes Group. "Another design objective is to enhance the social lifestyle of UH and to encourage student, staff and faculty interaction."

Hughes also stressed the need "to make sure the building is environmentally compliant."

For example, an outdoor park area will be designed to interact with the outdoor swimming pool and 50-foot climbing wall, said Paul Brailsford of the Brailsford & Dunlavey consulting firm, which has worked on the recreation project since 1998.

The architects also plan to place the pool on the east side of the building in order to save it from the "cruel, hot western sun."

Other proposed features of the center include a café and a one-third-mile indoor running track.

The recreation center was approved by a 52.9 percent vote in a November 1998 student referendum. It will be paid for principally through a mandatory student fee and is expected to open in fall 2002 on the current Frontier Fiesta field at the corner of Calhoun Road and University Drive.

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