Reopening of State Gym delayed until spring semester

By Katherine Klingseis, katherine.klingseis@iowastatedaily.com

The reopening of State Gym has been delayed until the spring semester, ISU officials announced Friday. Due to the delay, ISU will credit students a portion of their student fees, amounting to $89.95.

Director of Recreation Services Michael Giles said he began to receive information regarding a problem with constructicon the week of Aug. 1.

“The situation developed really quickly,” Giles said. “No one saw this coming — at least from the ISU perspective.”

He explained that the project team notified him on Aug. 4 or 5 that the contracter was unable to obtain the proper amount of coil zinc to construct the building’s metal wall panels. The panels will be located on the facility’s exterior and interior.

“Without the metal panels, we can’t fully enclose the building, and that’s where the problem lies,” he said. “This is the skin of the building.”

In a news release issued Friday, director of Design and Construction Services for ISU Facilities Planning and Management Dean McCormick said the construction crew will not be able to install environmental controls, wood floors and other finish materials until the panels are installed.

Giles had scheduled a walkthrough of State Gym for ISU administrators Aug. 8. After learning of the problem with obtaining materials, Giles canceled the walkthrough.

ISU administrators met on Aug. 8 to discuss the construction timeline and what to do about student fees. At the meeting, ISU officials came to the conclusion that the reopening of State Gym would be delayed until the spring semester and ISU would credit students $89.95 for the fees they paid for the fall semester.

Students voted in 2008 to approve the $52.8 million renovation plan for ISU recreational facilities, and they agreed that a portion of that money would be funded by increasing student fees, which meant that student fees would increase $20 per semester for two years. Most academic year students paid $160 in student fees for the fall 2011 semester.

Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Hill said the inital increase in fees helped fund the installation of an air conditioning system in Lied Recreation Athletic Center and other renovations to Lied, Beyer Hall and other facilities. The increase assessed for fall 2011 was determined with the knowledge that State Gym would reopen in October.

“Philosophically, from the very beginning of this project, we really decided that students wouldn’t pay the full fee or the fee for the facility until they were able to utilize it,” Hill said.

Hill and Giles were unsure about the exact date State Gym will be reopened, but they agreed that it will be during the spring semester. They also are both optimistic about the construction of the facility and students’ reactions once the facility is reopened.

“The added time allows us the opportunity to make sure the building is perfect,” Giles said. “I have no doubt that students will be excited and impressed with the facility.”

Dean McCormick, of Facilities Planning and Management, was unavailable for immediate comment.

(Posted originally on Iowastatedaily.com on Aug. 19, 2011)

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