Renovations to Make PE Building the Primary Recreation Destination on Campus

Posted: April 10, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Outside of PE Building showing expanded area
An expansion of the PE Building will more than double its size.

By Dave Andrews

For years, the Physical Education (PE) Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus went practically unnoticed, sitting alone on a hill outside Patriot Circle. But now, renovations and significant expansions are under way to make it the primary recreation destination on campus.

The new construction will more than double the building’s size to nearly 120,000 square feet and will include an additional gymnasium, two new racquetball courts, two squash courts, a two-story fitness area and more offices.

“Because the university has grown greatly in total numbers as well as in on-campus housing, these types of facilities are in huge demand,” says Mickey McDade, head of facilities for Intercollegiate Athletics. “As the university continued to grow, we identified the PE Building near the top of our development list in order to expand our recreation offerings to students.”

Mason’s intercollegiate volleyball, tennis and wrestling programs, in addition to the intramural and club sports, will all be housed under the new roof. For the first time, the PE Building will offer fitness machines — including more than 100 new cardio machines and 50 weight lifting machines — to better serve varied strength and training regimens.

Cardio area in PE Building expansion
Cardio area in the PE Building expansion

Once construction is complete in April 2009, three multipurpose gyms will be available in addition to the new fitness area. The Cage Gym is currently under renovation through August to install a special floor for wrestling and indoor hockey. The Linn Gym will close for refinishing beginning May 1. A newly added gym with 1,500 bleacher seats will be the competition venue for wrestling and volleyball.

New team locker rooms will be created, as will lockers for students and other patrons of the fitness areas. Plans are still developing on whether the PE Building will offer a membership plan to the outside public or if it will be exclusively for students, faculty and staff.

Cardio area in PE Building expansion
Another view of the cardio area in the PE Building expansion

Two floors of renovated office space will create approximately 45 new offices for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and School of Recreation, Health and Tourism. Space will also be available for the intramural and club sports offices that are currently located in the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

McDade says the demands for expansion have existed for quite some time. Before the PE Building found its way onto Mason’s master plan, focus groups and surveys conducted with students, faculty and staff showed that expansion was necessary.

When the refurbished Building opens, it will be the fourth fitness location on the Fairfax Campus — joining the Field House, the Aquatic Center and the new student fitness facility in the northeast sector of campus (due to open fall 2008).

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