JONESBORO, AR (KAIT/ AState.edu) – With the start of the spring 2014 semester, construction of the multi-use Student Activity Center at Arkansas State University begins with preliminary site preparation.
Located on the northeast corner of campus near Centennial Bank Stadium, the approximately 78,000 square foot building provides a new venue for multiple programs across the university.
"The Student Activity Center provides A-State with a facility that enhances our overall campus life," Student Government Association president D'Andre Anderson said. "Having our student athletes and the general student body use the same facility brings the two parts of campus closer to each other. The students gain more ownership over our athletic teams. Plus, all students gain access to a facility that most universities don't have for intramurals, club sports and recreational activities."
"As a member of the SGA, I was very excited to see this facility move forward and support it," SGA vice president Sarah Hamilton said. "The center will appeal to prospective students as they consider their higher education choices. The start of the facility is another example of our administration and students working together to create an even better university."
Construction is being financed through a bond issue that was approved by the Arkansas State University Board of Trustees last September. The estimated cost is $11 million for construction of the center and the relocation of the soccer complex. The Student Activities Center, which was endorsed by the A-State Student Government Association, will be utilized by students, athletics, and the community.
"This center will enhance recreational opportunities for all A-State students," Arkansas State Chancellor Tim Hudson said. "Campus intramurals, club sports, fitness programs, and community activities will share the facility with our intercollegiate athletics programs."
Building on the popularity of living on-campus and working to make A-State a destination university are key motivating factors in the sharing of the SAC with all students.
"We are looking at new programming that we could not do in our existing facilities," Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rick Stripling said. "Fitness classes popular with students similar to CrossFit or new intermural or club sports become a possibility with this multiuse facility. We currently have the largest on-campus population in A-State's history, and an important part of a vibrant campus life is our on-campus facilities. Having an environment for our kids is really important," Dr. Stripling told Region 8 News. "To us, this is really one more addition to adding the value to campus life."
A-State's intramural program currently operates evenings on the campus, but for many sports the only venues are the existing outdoor fields of the Red Wolves Sports Complex. The new facility opens up the ability to schedule events during cold weather, expanding the calendar, and later into the evenings.
Along with several NCAA Red Wolves teams, the SAC opens up the ability to schedule practice for A-State's notable club teams like the two-time national collegiate champion Rugby 7s.
The Student Activity Center will also be available for practice sessions for the A-State spirit squads, the Sound of the Natural State marching band and other campus life groups such as R.O.T.C. needing indoor space larger than those provided by the Red W.O.L.F. Center or the Reng Student Center.
As a part of the project to accommodate the new multipurpose facility, the Red Wolves soccer field moves into a new co-location with the A-State varsity track and field complex for the fall 2014 season.
The SAC is designed by Brackett Krennerich Architects of Jonesboro and Sparks Reed Architecture and Interiors of Tulsa, Okla.
The Student Activity Center is the first part of a university master plan for the eastern side of campus that continues with a later Athletic Operations Facility, a separate 58,000-square foot project. The Athletic Operations Facility will be funded independently of the Student Activities Center.