GFU student activity center nears opening
By ALICIA WOLVERTON
Newberg Graphic Intern
Slated to open in a little more than a month, George Fox's new Student Activity Center (SAC) is a hive of activity. Walking through the glass front doors, one is greeted by the smell of drying paint, new carpet and wood paneling. Throughout the building, construction workers move quickly to finish the tasks necessary to stay on schedule.
In an area that was once covered by two rows of the Lewis Apartments and the Gale House residential facility, both which have been torn down, the new SAC is a 48,000-square-foot complex that will house a 40-foot rock wall, three full sized basketball courts, an indoor running track, and Associated Student Community (ASC) offices. After a little less than 18 months of construction, the new center is nearly complete.
According to Rob Simpson, GFU director of campus recreation, the SAC is scheduled to have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 21. Bob and Camille Hadlock, alumni after whom the center will be named, were longtime missionaries. Camille Hadlock will be present at the ribbon cutting ceremony (her husband died while on a missionary trip). If all goes as planned, the center will be ready for occupancy Aug. 23 and fully operational Sept. 3.
Last week saw preparations to install the wood floors of the gymnasium, while the hoops are in place. Simpson noted that this area will likely increase student body participation in intramural sports. Having multiple courts increases the space availability for groups to play and decreases interference from other activities.
Another aspect of the facility that is sure to add to student involvement is the addition of an equipment rental center. Students will have access to four kayaks, two paddle boards and camping gear such as tents, sleeping mats and stoves for daily rental. Simpson noted that while he initially had a five-year goal for creating an outdoors program at George Fox, the hiring of a new assistant director has moved that projected timeline up to one or two years. Soon, students will have the ability to not only enjoy activities on campus, but will have greater access to exploring the great outdoors.
Keith Schneider, new assistant director of campus recreation, was formerly an area coordinator and director of housing at the universiry, but he has most recently been employed as the head coach and climbing gym manager at Nike headquarters. Due to his experience, he will be involved in tasks such as overseeing setting rock wall routes and operations when the area is completed.
Several group activity rooms have also been built into the SAC that will give students the opportunity to engage in spin or yoga classes as well as have open studio space for dance related exercise.
ASC will be housed in the new center in order to handle the likely increase of intramural and club activity. Complete with separate offices, a conference room and a large free space, the new ASC office will free up space in Klages Center for the engineering program.
"Ultimately, this building was constructed to enhance the student experience –- to provide students a space where they can further the relationships and experiences that make university life so rich and compelling," said Brad Lau, vice president for student life, in a press release.
According to Simpson, one of the greatest challenges so far has been negotiation between multiple sub-contractors regarding finishing tasks on schedule. Yet despite the many hands at work on the new building, its unity and ascetic appeal are already evident. Outside the main doors, student-created glass artwork will mark the entryway.
From skylights that naturally light the building to open spaces, to views of the entire center, to glass windows that mirror the design of the neighboring Canyon Commons, it is clear that the new SAC will be a good fit for George Fox campus life.