Stoller Center expansion not in near future

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The athletic administration is including concepts for a three-story addition to the Stoller Center in their strategic plan for Imagine 2020.

Athletic Director Ken Schumann said the addition would offer storage space for athletes and the exercise science department, an additional student fitness and wellness center, classrooms and a central hub for the exercise science department. It would be built on the side of the Stoller Center, paralleling the current fitness center.

The layout of the building has not been solidified because it has not reached the point of being a definite plan but the general concept is that the storage spaces would be in the basement, the first floor fitness center would focus more on general cardiovascular fitness rather than weight lifting and the second floor would be comprised of classrooms and offices.

The coaches, exercise science departments and students using the fitness center have expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the facilities.

The project would cost $5 to $8 million, which is the cheapest out of all of the projects currently being discussed, making it the most cost effective option.

Schumann said the administration realizes the need for expansion and agrees with the concept, there is currently no timetable for when the building will be built.

“It’s hard to put a time table on a project like this,” Schuman said. “There are so many factors and it’s hard to predict.”

The concept was originally proposed two years ago and since has not become any more of a reality than it was when it drafted.

Schumann said the university is also exploring building a third facility in Hillsboro for Optometry, increasing endowment and expanding the general science department on the Forest Grove campus and there is an issue of priority amongst the big projects and finding the funding for all of them.

Exercise Science Professor Shawn Henry said the Stoller Center is arguably the most active building on campus, accommodating academia, sporting events, student fitness, camps and large speaker events.

The Stoller Center was built in 1970, and while student population is two thirds larger than it was when the center was built, it has not been expanded upon.

Schumann said the expansion of the Stoller Center relies solely on philanthropy for funding.

He said university advancement is currently working on matching up donors who may have interest in funding the expansion with athletic administration but nothing has been solidified.

Cramped spaces and growing numbers have made it increasingly difficult to find space to meet the needs of all of the groups who use the Stoller Center.

While the athletic administration has made efforts to remodel the already existing spaces and be creative in finding space for offices and storage, Henry said it is becoming increasingly difficult to accommodate for all of the entities that use the Stoller Center.

“We are at a breaking point,” said Henry. “Expanding would be a win for all entities on campus, not just the ones housed in the Stoller Center.”

The issue of inadequate athletic spaces is not limited to Pacific, while it is most severely felt here. Schumann said a lot of schools in the conference are following Pacific’s lead in expanding their athletics and have felt the pressure of large numbers being cramped into small spaces.

Schumann said the additional space would not only benefit the athletic and exercise science departments; it would alleviate pressure on the already cramped academic spaces by adding classrooms, alleviate pressure on the general sciences by removing the exercise science professors who have been scattered there for space issues, help with recruiting and general student wellness.


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