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$44 million center boosts SUNY Brockport campus

Rochester Business Journal
September 14, 2012

SUNY College at Brockport is set for the formal opening of its 160,000-square-foot Special Events Recreation Center, which college officials say will allow the expansion of academic programs and be a potent recruiting tool.
The center, which opened to students and faculty in early July, will have a formal ceremony on campus today. The $44 million facility is seen as a way to give students more opportunities to remain fit while also accommodating the college's largest major.
The space features a 200-meter indoor track and fitness center with cardiovascular equipment, free weights, strength circuit training areas and a multipurpose exercise room. It also has dining and retail space and a multipurpose room.
A 5,500-seat "House of Fields" in the center will allow the college to hold large-scale events and increase opportunities to host entertainment acts on campus, SUNY Brockport officials said.
The center also has energy-efficient features, including an underground ice generation and storage system for cooling the building. It was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standards, officials noted.
"The SERC should quickly become the crown jewel of our campus," President John Halstead said. "This awesome, state-of-the-art facility will provide a dramatic boost to our already vibrant campus life. It will also serve as a point of pride for the college and a showplace for Western New York."
Halstead is to be joined by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and other college and community leaders for today's event. The grand opening will include a celebration that begins on the recreation fields and leads into the unveiling of the center. A concert for SUNY Brockport students and alumni will follow.
The center already has expanded opportunities for the college's largest major. Last year, students in the college's noted kinesiology, sport studies and physical education programs were able to pick from 10 classes offered each week at the smaller fitness center, said Leah Barrett, assistant vice president for student affairs.
With the new center opened, that number has jumped to 42 classes each week, she noted.
"Before we had a fitness center that was smaller, had no windows and was open seven or eight hours a day," Barrett said. "Now we have a space that's twice as large, has room for classes and is open much longer."
The center also fits nicely with SUNY Brockport's plans to emphasize wellness on campus, Barrett said.
"We really do care about the physical development of our students," she said. "As an institution, our largest major is kinesiology, sport studies and physical education, so it makes sense to have a recreation center of this size open for students."
The center has become a great recruitment tool since its informal opening in July, Barrett noted. It has had 3,200 unique guests so far and has become popular on student tours of the campus.
"When admissions tours of students walk in, they're just in awe of the size of the field and contemporary fitness equipment," she said. "It's really exciting to see that if you build it, they will come."
The center also will help with a greater transformation of the entire SUNY Brockport community, Barrett noted.
"We've been talking about how this will really change the campus culture," she said. "We're changing the campus culture to really put more focus on fitness and wellness, so we're so excited to have this as a central point on campus."

9/14/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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