University of Delaware
Construction at the Carpenter Sports Building is nearing completion, with a grand opening scheduled Aug. 26.

Recreation showcase

Carpenter Sports Building grand opening set Aug. 26


1:10 p.m., Aug. 6, 2013--University of Delaware students, faculty and staff are invited to the grand opening of the Carpenter Sports Building slated for 8:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 26, at the building’s main entrance adjacent to Mechanical Hall.

Featuring remarks by UD officials and guests, the event will conclude with a ribbon cutting ceremony and doors opening at 9 a.m. 

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Giveaways and raffle items will be offered throughout the day as supplies last, with attendees asked to remember to bring their University ID.

The showcase of the $25 million project is a three-story, 45,000-square-foot addition, complete with an indoor walking and jogging track and the very latest in exercise equipment. 

“It’s great to be able to present something like this to the UD community,” said Jacob Olkkola, associate athletic director for Recreation Services. “We are just thrilled and we think that our student users are going to be very pleased with the resources we are offering.” 

Complementing the new addition is a new student lounge, exercise room and recreation check-in desk where members of the campus community with UD IDs can check themselves in.

“Last year, we had 450,000 recorded users,” Olkkola said. “We are waiting to see how many more will be using it now that we have the new addition and new equipment to offer.”

The 167,000-square-foot building includes the Harry W. Rawstrom Natatorium; two gymnasiums; student and employee fitness centers; racquetball courts; a rock-climbing wall; locker rooms; and offices for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation staff and Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition faculty.

Named in honor of R.R.M. Carpenter Sr., a former member of the Board of Trustees and long-time benefactor and supporter of the University, the facility hosts the UD men's and women's swimming and diving teams and serves UD club and intramural sports. It also houses recreational activities for students, faculty and alumni, and for the community. 

An outdoor courtyard, with ample seating, will connect Carpenter Sports Building to the surrounding buildings. 

“We wanted the exterior to complement and respect the traditional architecture of the surrounding buildings in the Old College area,” Olkkola said. “Brick columns in the interior of the new addition will help bring the feeling of that style inside.” 

Olkkola said the project is the culmination of listening to the needs and wants of student users and help from various units on the UD campus.

“We included student focus groups in the project. The students voiced their concerns and we listened,” Olkkola said. “We also are grateful for the support we have received from Facilities and the various departments and groups across campus and the resources they have given us.” 

Nason Construction of Wilmington, Del., was construction manager for the project, which included a 47,000-square-foot renovation with upgraded finishes, site improvements, HVAC, plumbing, fire protection and electrical upgrades. Architect for the project was Hughes Group Architects of Sterling, Va.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Evan Krape

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