By Tyler Bergen
As many students may have noticed, construction has been underway on campus since June 22 of last year in preparation to unveil the newly expanded Pavilion in the fall.
The Pavilion, which is undergoing a 24,000 square foot renovation, will house recreational rooms and services for Whatcom Community College’s students and faculty.
“The project was started up by a group of students about 11 years ago, who expressed their desires for a recreation center and a larger weight room,” said Brian Keeley, Senior Director of Facilities and Operations.
The drafting and designing process took off from there, and after years of planning and careful preparation with architect firm SRG Partnership in Seattle, and Tiger Construction based out of Everson, construction began and ground was broken on June 23, 2014.
“I’m most excited about the opportunities for students, having a place to study or workout will encourage them to stay on campus more often,” said Keeley. “These facilities enhance a campus and improve student experiences,” he added.
Among the renovations is a gymnasium floor with new graphics, a juice bar, recreational room, indoor running track, and two new classrooms that will provide student’s access to a number of services in the new building.
“The building was financed through student imposed fees, which gives students full access to the weight center and other utilities,” said Keeley. He also said that staff may have to pay a yearly fee to have access to the weight center, although this is still in discussion.
Local capital funds were being used to upgrade the previously existing parts of the building, which included upgrades to the HVAC ventilation systems, staff offices, team spaces, and more says Keeley.
“There will be two studio classrooms, which are multi-purpose and are used for P.E classes like Zumba,” said Keely. “These rooms will have new flooring that will be great for a lot of athletics.”
“Upstairs, 2,500 square feet will be used for dance classes and will double as a conference space,” he added.
The arrival of the new building will also bring new work opportunities for students. More staff will be needed for the athletic center, which will also be staffing a new position of Recreation Center Coordinator.
Students will be operating a juice bar, which will be just inside the main entrance, and serves students a healthier alternative to supplement their study and exercise, said Keeley.
Student Identification will be required to gain access to the building, which will be open to students Monday through Saturday. Keeley says that the Pavilion will be expanding its hours during the weekdays, and will be open for part of the day on Saturdays.
“Depending on where we see usage of the building by students will allow us to change the hours of operation to accommodate their needs,” said Keeley.
Since construction started, all athletic classes that the school offers had to be relocated to other buildings while the Pavilion was finished. Much of the exercise equipment has been more difficult to use in the classrooms that were not intended for athletic classes, and currently only Cascade Hall has a room fully equipped with exercise equipment.