Upon its creation in 1995, the University of New Hampshire’s first recreation center had never been considered a completed project. After 22 years of deliberation, student senate resolutions and design layouts, an extension was added to the pre-existing Hamel Student Recreation Center attached to the Whittemore Center (Whitt). The completion of this new project allowed for renovations in the recreation facility that had been standing for decades and where some maintenance has long-been deferred. However, after decades of discussion and assembly, the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC) is finally completed.
Although the extension to the pre-existing Hamel Student Recreation Center resolved a lot of issues in the way of benchmark measurements in the recreation field and student accessibility to fitness equipment, the project was still not completed due to the need to bring attention to deferred maintenance projects on the original building. The process began during December 2015, and the long-awaited complete recreation center made its appearance on campus on the night of Jan. 24.
Director of Campus Recreation Stacey Hall outlined the several contributing factors that pushed the incentive to renovate the recreational facility that had been standing for 22 years. For one, the air handling system was upgraded for the sake of inconsistent temperature patterns throughout the building and unsystematic noise. Additionally, the wood floors on the multipurpose courts were replaced while others were refurbished, the locker rooms were redone and the old fitness center was repurposed to incorporate a dedicated cycling room and performance center. Together, there are now five different areas that house fitness equipment throughout the entire recreation complex.
According to Student Body President Jonathan Dean, the funding to support the renovations of the HRC comes from each student’s student recreation fee.
“The fee was nearly doubled in order to cover the cost of this renovation,” Dean said.
In addition to the nearly $5.5 million worth of deferred maintenance in the complex, several other changes have been made to the layout of the building that students can look forward to this semester.
The increasing demand for health services programs such as massage therapy and health education allowed for a health service sector to be integrated into the renovations as an extension of what is currently offered in their professional building. This addition to the building includes a massage room with sessions that cost $40 for each 50-minute period; a coloring room, a private conference room and a room designated for meditation and yoga practices. Each new project is intended to foster multiple varieties of wellness, such as social, emotional and occupational.
“There has been a global trend across the country to incorporate multiple forms of wellness into a recreation center setting,” Hall said. “The addition of Health Services introduces mental wellness instead of just physical wellness.”
In addition, students may also take a liking to the kitchen area designed for nutrition classes and meal prep demonstrations. The room, which includes two stoves and a preparation area, is designed to encourage a nutritional eating schedule and provide the students with the resources necessary to execute a healthy lifestyle.
“I think that it is a good idea that they are getting nutritionists involved directly with students because recently there’s been a rise in interest in meal prep along with many of us planning our meals independently for the first time in our lives,” sophomore nutritional sciences major Mackenzie Stanley said.
Other students are looking forward to the advantages that the spacious HRC provides as an entire entity.
“I like the multiple basketball courts,” sophomore Kyle LeCour said. “You can finally have an entire court to yourself.”