By Jie Jenny Zou

What is this? A building for ants!?

Is overcrowding at the SAC Wellness Center getting you down?  Are short weekend hours cutting down on your flextime? Gym rats, fear no more.

In a press conference on Wednesday Susan DiMonda, Dean of Health, and Marie Turchiano, Campus Recreation Director, confirmed the University’s plan to build a new recreation center. Slated to open in 2011 for the incoming class, the center will cater to the needs of the long-ignored intramurals, sports clubs and the typical SBU student who wants to forgo the “freshman 15.” The specs for the two floor plus basement center boast nearly 50,000 square feet of space to exercise to your heart’s content; that’s five times the size of the current Wellness Center located on the 3rd floor of the SAC.

The plan to build comes in light of the growing demand for workout space. With the Sports Complex mainly serving the Athletics Department and the SAC viciously overcrowded, focus will be put on open recreation and non-committal programs. The center will introduce a multi-court arena with room for basketball, indoor soccer, badminton, floor hockey (with ability to “play off the walls”) and an overlooking one-tenth mile track.

The Obvious Positives:
1. New fitness studios will be able to accommodate 40-50 people as opposed to the SAC dance studios current capacity of 20-25 people. This will allow for both a greater range of class programming and for multiple classes to run simultaneously.

2. The projected hours of service will extend through the weekend and late weeknights, making the center open for use 18 hours a day and 7 days per week.

3. Amenities include a wellness suite with a possible computation site, free daily use of lockers, TV monitors, showers, a lounge area with wireless internet, a storage area and a laundry service specifically designated for Sport Clubs.

The Not-So-Pretty:
1. The projected cost is $37.5 million. That’s your student activity fee and then some. Consider this in conjunction with the planned budget cuts.

2. The recreation center is slated to open in 2011.  We all know how good Stony Brook is at keeping itspromises; Roth Food Court anyone?

3. Location: Between the pool and right next to the Union. Will require you to go through the Stadium parking lot to get to its single, card-swipe entrance.

4. The current Wellness Center in the SAC will be transformed into a series of dance studios to house Stony Brook’s currently un-housed dance groups. This may or may not be as a bad thing.

5. A unisex changing room. $37.5 million couldn’t purchase a dividing wall?

6. As usual, undergraduate students will have access to the center for free, while graduate students and faculty members will have to purchase memberships. Expect the same cardio machines, free weights and circuit training of the SAC, just on a larger scale.  I’m sure all of you reading will be ecstatic come June for the ground-breaking ceremony, especially since many of us will no longer be here (God willingly) to see this project come to fruition. That is, if the global economy does not collapse before then.