New gym/wellness facility at CSUS

With 151,000 square feet of floor space, self-shading sky lights, recycled sunflower seed walls, and a host of Big Ass Fans, Sacramento State’s new recreation center is sure to be the main attraction when the fall semester begins.

The name of the building is the WELL. It’s an acronym for: wellness, education, leisure, lifestyle. Inspiration for the name came from the perspective that the university didn’t want just an athletic center, but a place that encouraged wellness in all aspects of a student’s life.

The WELL will house a primary and urgent care clinic, pharmacy, psychological services and laboratory services in addition to four basketball courts, four racquetball courts, an indoor track, and plenty of cardio and free-weight space. The full list of features can be viewed here.

"It’s more than just a recreation center — we’re looking to service the students on many levels," WELL Director Mirjana Gavric said. "We’re building a place where people can go and forget about books and finances for a half-hour and then get back to the world."

The project has been a long time in the making, dating back over 10 years when the student body rejected the proposal through a referendum in 1999. The project was shelved until three years later.

In 2002 the University Union Operation of CSUS Inc. explored the idea again in partnership with the university, Associated Students Inc., and other auxiliary organizations to discuss how to proceed.

They held open meetings and focus groups, and conducted a student survey to find out what the campus community would want in a building like this. They also hired an outside consultant to help them with feasibility aspects.

"It was really the partnership between the students and President (Alexander) Gonzalez that bought the project to fruition," Union Executive Director Leslie Davis said.

In the spring semester of 2004, a referendum was finally passed that made way for the WELL’s construction. The project’s groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2008.

"The biggest thing about the WELL is the impact it will have on the campus. It will aid in the recruitment of students, it will aid in the retention of students, and it will be a source of pride," Davis said.

The new building cost $71.3 million, $50 million of which is being paid for through a California State University system-wide bond. The other portion of the cost is being covered by student fee hikes approved through the referendum passed six years ago, according to University Project Manager Victor Takahashi.

Takahashi is in charge of the design and construction of the WELL and has been one of the leaders in making sure the building meets LEED certification standards.

"We are trying to make this a sustainable building," Takahashi said.

The WELL management staff anticipate getting the silver certification but are working toward attaining gold. In order to achieve this, the building employs many different energy-efficient technologies. The abundance of natural lighting in the building and the use of recycled materials in the walls and floors are two examples of the building’s green characteristics.

"We’re cutting edge," Davis said.

The grand opening will be on Sept. 2 and will be open to the public. There will be free food, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the building and an attempt at the Guinness World Record for the largest dodgeball game.

You can view the WELL webcam with live video of the construction progress here.

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July 8, 2010 | 9:49 AM

Will it be open to alumni? We had nothing like that when I went there…

July 8, 2010 | 10:58 AM

Yes and no. If you attended CSUS during the semesters they had raised fees to pay for the building, then you will have either a significant discount, or the fee hikes you paid will be credited for the appropriate amount of time. If you graduated before that, then you won’t be able to use the facility. They are still working out the details of that part, but the answer is yes if you were there during that window.

Good question, I forgot to put that in there.

Article Author
July 8, 2010 | 10:00 AM

This look very nice! I think its a good addition to Sac State.

July 8, 2010 | 5:08 PM

Bravo, I remember the inception of this idea and worked on two failed campaigns to get a fee increase passed to build it. At the time called “A Train Wreck” by then President Gerth. I had to chuckle at that. A decade later it’s coming to fruition. If you remember the BEER (Better Education Events and Recreation) campaign of 1998 then you’ll have a little laugh to see how far the idea has come in ten years. Kudos to Leslie Davis and Alexander Gonzalez as well as the hundreds of students for seeing the vision and making it happen.

July 8, 2010 | 7:13 PM

Great article Jon!

I remember voting for this years ago at a ballot box near Eureka Hall, then getting upset because some amineties (the bowling alley, pools) got taken out. Great to get a sneak peek inside and see the basketball courts, indoor track, and rock climbing wall. All well worth the fee increase.

Thanks for all the info.

July 11, 2010 | 9:29 PM

conspicuously absent is the basketball arena, which at the time was the cornerstone of the project. Great to see this thing done but that campus sorely needs a real arena for D-1 basketball.

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