About 70 students and community members joined KSU staff and administrators in digging piles of dirt and celebrating the beginning stages of preparation for the $25 million, 153,000-square-foot building that will house many health and recreational opportunities, The facility will be located south of East Summit Street, across from the Liquid Crystal Institute.
"When people think of student success, many think of the classroom environment ... and that is absolutely accurate, and we, as a university, continue to focus the greatest share of our interest in that direction, but there are also ways to reinforce that," Cartwright said, referring to the future center. "The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will provide our students the opportunity to take part in recreational and fitness activities ... and will help with student recruitment.
"The Student Recreation and Wellness Center will speak volumes about our belief in the value of our students and will show one more step we have taken to make life, exciting, interesting and fun for our students," she said.
Paid for partially with KSU student fees, the building will include an aquatic center featuring two pools, saunas and a whirlpool; racquetball and basketball courts, an elevated track, fitness area, weight room, climbing wall, gym, and multipurpose studios. A juice bar, child care area, and game room are some of the other features the building will include.
Site preparation for the building began in July and construction will begin later this fall.
Cartwright and others Friday praised the efforts of students in expressing a need and want for the center and for approving a referendum last year which stated they would be willing to help support such a building through their student fees.
"Students and student organizations have played a primary role in getting the center to where it is today," said Paul Milton, director of recreational services.
"For dreams to come true, you need dedicated students and staff," said Nancy Scott, vice president of enrollment and student affairs. "Our mission is to provide leadership ... and to maximize student success, and the center definitely fits in with our mission. We are proud to be key players in this grand facility."
Ronald Heineking, president pro tem of Kent City Council, complimented KSU for working with the city as plans for the center developed.
"This center is the effort of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. Its modern design will compliment the city and will be pleasing to everyone who drives by," Heineking said. "It is representative of the continuous effort by everyone to keep open lines of communication.
"The relationship with the city and university is as good as ever ...
and the interactions will only continue to get better," he said.