The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Finalized plans for athletic facility increase construction costs $11 million

By Emily Smith

The final plans for Macalester’s new athletic and recreation center are complete, and groundbreaking is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5.

One major change to the previous plans is that the three components of Health Services — education, medical, and counseling — will be moved into the new athletic center, according to Dean of Students Laurie Hamre.

Director of Facilities Management Mark Dickinson said that the older plans have been “tweaked” with regard to square footage and traffic flow.

Construction costs for the building were previously estimated at $30 million, but that price tag has risen to $41 million over the course of planning. The new figure includes the cost of architects’ fees, furniture, equipment, and sound systems, said David Wheaton, Vice President for Administration and Finance.

The $41 million dollars will come from alumni donations, a capital campaign, and “borrowed funds” according to Wheaton. Twelve million dollars have already been raised, but the center has yet to be named.

Students have expressed concern that the $41 million price tag indicates that the college is prioritizing athletics, but administrators insist that the new facility will have a broader appeal.

“This isn’t about prioritizing athletics,” Hamre said. “It’s about having a facility for the whole campus.”

She said the center will offer a “broader opportunity for all-campus events,” as it will have a greater seating capacity than the existing gymnasium.

Wheaton said that the administration had already noted the poor condition of the current athletic facilities as far back as 14 years ago, but the Trustees decided to focus on the construction of a new Campus Center and the George Draper Dayton residence hall, and the renovation of Wallace and Turck Halls.

“Having touched most other aspects of campus life, the Trustees decided that it was time address [the athletic] facility,” Wheaton said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the center will take place Thursday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m.

The Macalester community is invited to the ceremony. Selected students will be invited to a celebratory dinner. Macalester College Student Government President Jess Hasken ’07 will bear a shovel in representation of the student body.

The Board of Trustees will be present and will hold a formal vote the next day on whether to proceed with the building.

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