Wellness Center Construction to Begin in November
Publication date: Aug 19, 2014 3:36:37 PM
I am excited to share with you that construction on the Wellness Center will begin this November. Thanks to the generosity of Bethel investors we will be able to build the new center without going into debt and without dipping into the university’s operating expenses. This building addition will be an important boost to campus programming, corporate health, and student recruiting. Praise God!
You may remember that the original design for the Health and Wellness Center was divided into two phases and cost $23 million. The first phase would be a fitness center and additional general purpose classroom space. The second phase would provide space for the human kinetics and applied health science programs along with health services, counseling services, and classrooms. With the purchase of the Pine Tree building with 200,000-square-feet of space and 42 acres of land, those plans changed. Our primary identified need remained a fitness center, but our secondary need shifted from classroom space to academic space to accommodate biokinetics, one of our fastest growing majors.
The re-designed Wellness Center places the building in the same location – the north side of the Robertson Center (RC) and the Hagstrom Center (HC) – but will be three levels instead of four. The fitness center will remain on levels 2 and 3 and the space for biokinetics will be on level 4. The entire project is estimated to cost $11 million, which is less than phase 1 of the previous plan. Some parts of the original plan have been accomplished already. The classroom additions in HC 1, building foundation repairs, and upgrades to building infrastructure have also been included as part of this project.
Funding the Project
Within one week of the re-design, we received two gifts designated toward capital needs – one of $800,000 and another of $1.8 million. The latter was given specifically for the fitness center. We also received approval from an investor to move funds from another capital project to the fitness center, if needed. These three amounts added to funds that were already raised provide the $11 million needed to begin construction without using any operating expenses.
To begin construction in November, two things need to happen. First, we need to relocate six classrooms – the four modular classrooms and two others that will be affected by construction noise. Those classrooms will be used until November and Barrett Fisher, who chairs the University Classroom Oversight Committee, will help to prepare alternate spaces on campus for the remainder of the semester. Second, individuals from athletics and the human kinetics and applied science programs will work with us on the designs of the space.
I want to thank Pat Mazorol, Tom Trainor, and their teams for all their work on this project. We will share more information about a ground breaking ceremony, construction plans, and project management assignments throughout the fall, most likely in E-Announcements. In the meantime, I encourage you to praise God for His faithfulness and providence through the planning stages of this project and ask for His guidance and care as we move to the construction stage.