“We have arrived at 12/12/12, a special date and, more importantly, a special day,” said Dr. John C. Bowling, Olivet's president, at the ceremony to officially open the new Student Life and Recreation Center (SLRC) to students, faculty and staff.
As midnight approached, a crowd of more than 1,500 gathered in front of the building and gradually pressed forward to enter as soon as the purple ribbon was cut. Just before midnight, Matt Smith, director of recreation services, kicked off the countdown.
At 12:12 a.m., twelve individuals cut the purple ribbon together, making Olivet history.
• Jameson Forshee (senior, Flint, Mich.), president of the Associated Student Council
• Dr. Doug Perry, vice president for finance
• Matt Whitis, director of physical plant
• The Honorable Paul Schore, mayor of the Village of Bourbonnais
• Dale Piggush, general contractor
• Matt Smith, director of recreation services and building director
• Dr. Jill Bowling
• President Bowling
• And representing the student body: Chelsea Speas (senior, DeWitt, Mich.); Tai Peachey (sophomore, Galesburg, Ill.); Cameron Mason (sophomore, Anderson, Ind.); Sayer Smith (freshman, Gravette, Ark.)
For two hours, the campus community was welcomed to explore the many features that the 168,000-square-foot SLRC offers, including:
• Eight-lane, 200-meter running track with Mondo surface, making Olivet one of only a few colleges in Illinois with this type of track. The track’s surface is identical to that used for 2012 Olympic competitions.
• Two pools, including a 10-lane competition pool with a constant depth of two meters. The first home meet for Olivet’s new women’s swim team is on Friday, December 14.
• Four-story rock climbing wall that is one of the largest among U.S. universities
• 72,000-square-foot field house with running track and four basketball courts
• Workout facilities
• Large game area on the lower level
• Spacious central lounge where students can gather for recreation or study
• Classrooms and offices
Promoting community life and helping students create relationships, experiences and memories are two of the stated purposes for the facility. With the focus on good health, fitness, fun and intercollegiate athletic competition, students will benefit from this investment for many years to come.
Planning of the SLRC began in 2009, and the facility has been under construction for the past 18 months. Architects for the project are Buchar, Mitchell, Bajt Architects, Inc.
of Joliet, Ill. Construction manager and general contractor is Piggush Simoneau, Inc.
of Kankakee, Ill.
“A project of this size and scope is the work of many hands,” Dr. Bowling said. “I want to express my appreciation to everyone who had a part in the planning, construction, furnishing and programming for this building.”