Students of Texas A&M University-San Antonio can look forward to a new recreation center on campus scheduled to open by spring or early summer of 2024.
The Department of Recreational Sports held the Rec Fest March 1 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new recreational facility. The event took place in parking lot 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event provided food, games and dance performances from the A&M-San Antonio cheer team, the Jaguarettes, the Panthera Onca colorguard and General the Jaguar.
The $17.4 million facility will include three large, primary spaces: a gymnasium that will house two recreational basketball courts and one collegiate competition court, a 3,400-square- feet weight room and a locker room.
Darnell Smith, director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, said he was glad students could see the construction of the new facility. Smith said the facility will be unlike any other building on campus.
“This is truly the first stand-alone facility dedicated to the students that’s not an academic building,” Smith said.
Smith said the recreation center is being built for the students to fulfill needs outside of academics. Smith said whether it is for health and fitness or leisure, this facility is being built for them and Smith said the university will continue to provide for the student body however it can.
“They asked for it and we’re bringing it to them,” Smith said.
For staff members of the recreational sports department, the construction of the facility excites them.
Art Olague, director of recreational sports, said he was at a loss for words when talking about what the facility means to the department and the A&M-SA campus.
“This is one of those things that I would compare to the wedding day,” Olague said.
Olague said having a space like this is invaluable for students and their clubs.
Compared with the current method of renting off-campus spaces to hold events, the recreation center will help alleviate costs and allow extra funds to be put back into student-driven extracurriculars.
“We don’t have to worry about renting space and using funds in other places; we can now have that stuff in–house,” Olague said.
Trevor Brunet, associate director of recreational sports, also described the impact the facility would have on the Rec Sports department.
“We’ve kind of been waiting on this for seven years going on eight,” Brunet said. “It’s something that will be a game changer for Rec Sports — game changer for the university.”
Students are just as enthusiastic about the construction of the facility. Seeing the university grow around them has brought optimism for the future of the school.
Jacob Goldstein, Student Government Association president, echoed the staff’s sentiments on the impact the construction will have on A&M-San Antonio’s future.
“This building and the Rec Fest event itself is representative of the next step in the next generation of A&M-San Antonio,” Goldstein said. “This is sort of our transition into becoming more traditional into campus life oriented and making sure that we’re engaging our student body.”
Senior kinesiology Daniella Perez initially came to the event for free food but was excited for the recreation center. Perez is the instructor for Jagfit yoga on campus and highlighted the opportunities the facility could bring for students, such as serving as a fitness instructor.
“I feel like a lot of students here don’t even know that being an instructor is [something] you can do as a student.” Perez said, “[A&M-San Antonio] is always looking to hire new instructors for new different types of classes.”
The facility is on track to finish construction by spring or early summer of 2024.