West Virginia University graduates and their families will get a chance to tour the new Student Recreatio nCenter during the weekend of commencement.


The”open house”tours of the new facility on the Evansdale campus will be from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 12. The tours are open to WVU faculty, staff and other students as well. Visitors should enter the center from the EricksonAlumniCenter parking lot and are cautioned not to wear open-toed shoes. Tours will take about 45 minutes.


“Our student recreation staff is really excited about showing our graduates and their families the Student Recreation Center near its completion date,”said Dave Taylor, director of the center.”Im sure students have had a curiosity as to what it will look like, and heres a chance for them to see it before they leave. For those returning for graduate school, its a chance for them to see what theyll get to enjoy beginning in the fall.”


The $34 million center is scheduled to open in June, and a grand opening will be held in September when students return for the fall semester.


Activities ranging from basketball and volleyball to swimming and weight-lifting will be possible in the 170,000-square-foot facility.


The focal point of the center will be a 50-foot climbing wall stretching from the ground floor up through the center of the building. The wall has 750 hands holds across a jagged surface.


Other building features include four-court and three-court gyms for basketball, volleyball and badminton; three racquetball courts; a squash court; a 17,000-square-foot weight/fitness area on two levels; three large multipurpose rooms; an aquatics area with lap pool, leisure pool and spa; an elevated three-lane jogging/walking track; a wellness center; an outdoor recreation area; and a food vendor.


Moody/Nolan of Columbus, Ohio, is the architect of the center; Sverdrup/CRSS of St. Louis, the construction manager.


A $90 increase in student fees will pay for the facility. The fee increase, approved by students in an April 1997 referendum, goes into effect when the facility opens. WVU employees and their families may also use the facility by purchasing a membership. The cost is $300 for faculty and staff, $240 for spouses and $660 for a family of three or more.


The Student Recreation Center is one of four new buildings under construction as part of WVU s master plan, a 10-year campus renewal program totaling more than $240 million. Other projects include a $43 million Life Sciences Building on Campus Drive, a $36 million in new construction and renovations at the Wise Library and a $26 million WVU Foundation building along Morgantowns waterfront.