Aug. 27, 2010
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By MICHELE DANNO
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Although it has been open for more than 20 days, the new Campus Recreation & Wellness Center (CRWC) was officially dedicated Friday, Aug. 27, in front of nearly 200 donors, community members, faculty, and alumni.
The event began with speeches from those involved in the establishment of the $70.1 million state-of-the-art facility, and was followed by a presentation by the University of Iowa men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams
The aquatic teams’ appearance highlighted the significance of the new center for the UI athletics department. The self-sustaining athletic department contributed $9 million toward the project, and UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta called the facility “transformational” for the campus.
Head coach and former UI swimmer Marc Long spoke on behalf of his entire program about how grateful it is for the inception of the facility, which is a vast improvement from the team’s previous home at the Field House. Now, in the spacious new pool area, as many as 1,200 fans can cheer on the Hawkeye swimmers and divers.
“This center aligns wonderfully with (the Regents) emphasis on wellness. A healthy Iowa is a strong Iowa, and this facility will contribute greatly to our state and its success.”
Bolard of Regents,
State of Iowa
The old facility lacked the space and regulation depths necessary to practice and compete at a Division I level. Before the “rec center,” as it has been come to be known as around campus, the Hawkeyes were the only Big Ten program without an Olympic-length 50-meter pool. This limited Iowa from hosting certain events, such as the Big Ten Championships. Thanks to the updated CRWC, the Hawkeyes are now able to host the U.S. Diving National Championships in January 2011 and both the men’s and women’s Big Ten Championships in 2012.
“(The Campus Recreation & Wellness Center) is providing current and future athletes with the facilities needed to meet their dreams,” Long said.
Student-athletes are not the only group reaping the new facilities’ benefits — the rec’s five floors of cardiovascular machines, pools, and rock climbing wall were all bustling with students and community members just outside the ceremony.
Harry Ostrander, Iowa’s director of recreational services since 1969, emphasized how important an updated, inexpensive, centrally-located fitness facility is to attracting and retaining students at the university. He said he was proud to finally stand at the forefront of wellness center, which has been a work-in-progress for the last 10 years.
He honored many of those involved in the development of the facility, and thanked them personally for both their inspiration and perspiration that went into making this dream a reality.
Among those was UI president Sally Mason, who addressed the significance of the center to both the student population and the community. She stressed the partnership between the university and the city, and said she is pleased to welcome all of Iowa City to participate in the activities and utilize the equipment the recreation and wellness center now has available.
Aside from the fitness aspect, Jack Evans from the Iowa Board of Regents highlighted the building’s unique design and pristine architecture. He said he hopes the building will inspire as well as educate not only University of Iowa students, but citizens statewide.
“This center aligns wonderfully with (the Regents) emphasis on wellness,” Evans said. “A healthy Iowa is a strong Iowa, and this facility will contribute greatly to our state and its success.”