April 12, 2012 | 2:25 p.m.
By the Office of Communications and Marketing
To meet the requirement for much-needed health and fitness facilities for students, as well as classroom space, Bethel University is finalizing plans for a new 50,000-square-foot Wellness Center, which will be added to the north and west sides of the Robertson Center in two phases.
“A well-equipped state-of-the-art Wellness Center is our number one need for students. Not only is this critical for the current general student population, but also for student athletes and for prospective students,” says Edee Schulze, vice president for student life.
Feedback from students and faculty during Bethel’s recent campus master planning process has reinforced the need for both health and fitness facilities, as well as general purpose classroom space. Developing this new space as a Wellness Center will allow for a broader use—including a permanent place for health services, counseling services, and the exercise science program—versus a fitness center alone. The addition will also help Bethel fulfill its commitment to develop whole and holy persons—mentally, socially, spiritually—and physically.
The first phase of this project, located between the Robertson Center and Hagstrom Center, will include cardio, weight, and studio workout areas on levels two and three. General purpose classrooms on level four will replace the temporary classrooms now located in this area. This phase is estimated to cost $10 million for the new building alone plus some required changes to the RC and HC buildings, and will take approximately one year to build after funds are raised. Phase 1 construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2013.
Phase 2 of the project will extend the addition along the north side of the Robertson Center and will add an expanded location for health services and counseling services, four additional classrooms, and a place for the exercise science program. Both phases will include a lower-level. “We only have one chance to add basement space, and given our need for more space, we plan to build the lower levels during construction, but will not program its specific use until later,” says Tom Trainor, vice president for facilities and planning.
In order to support Wellness Center construction in summer 2013, some early work is required. Step one has just begun; relocating Facilities Management and the Office of Safety and Security to the south side of HC1 in the space once occupied by the Campus Store. This clears out the area of the lower level where the new Wellness Center will tie in to the existing buildings and provides the ability to construct new classrooms on HC-1.By moving these offices now, the Wellness Center construction will be faster and more efficient. “We realize that the noise for this construction may be inconvenient this spring,” says Kathleen Nelson, senior vice president for finance and administration. “Workers will do their best to minimize interruptions for students and staff. We ask for your patience as construction progresses.”