New gym in approval process

Kim McMurray

When current president and vice president of the Student Government Association Joe Breslin and Steve Cronin ran for office, part of their platform was the promise to help the University design a new on-campus recreation center gym.

 In the last few months, the project has entered the earliest stages of development.

“We have such a beautiful campus and there is definitely a discrepancy between the work-out facilities and the rest of the campus,” Mike Lyons, chairperson of campus improvements said.  

“The problem,” said John Ambrose, executive assistant of the SGA, “is that there is no intramural director, so it is no one’s specific job to maintain the current facilities [and therefore] they are poorly maintained.”

The main purpose of the new facility is to increase practice room for the intercollegiate varsity teams and to provide work-out space for the rest of the student body.

One design called for an attachment to the Pavilion, but no design has been finalized yet.

While the project has to go through a series of approvals before moving forward, the University Facilities Committee has already approved it, pending outside funding.  All funding must come from outside the University, since the new building is not in the University budget.  

The last approval must come from the Board of Trustees, but the project will not be presented to the board until all the funding is in place, said Vince Nicastro, director of athletics.

The project is estimated to cost between 10 and 15 million dollars. An architect, Mark Thompson, has been secured and he has begun communicating with a group of students from SGA to talk about their goals for the building.

SGA is in charge of creating the group that will speak to the architect, as well as creating eight to 10 focus groups.  

These groups will discuss what they specifically want out of the new facility, and then the main group will bring their ideas back to the architect.

“The students in the focus groups are first going to be taken from the SGA, then from the general student body,” Frank Brogna, chief of staff for SGA, said.

“This is the epitome of what the SGA is supposed to do,” Breslin said, adding that the group’s job is to influence change, not to fund projects. “We do not have a gigantic budget, so this is a good way to get things done.”

“I use the current gym facilities a lot, and it’s obvious that it’s one of Villanova’s most lacking areas,” said junior Emily Dillon, a member of the newly formed focus groups. “I’m looking foward to working on the focus groups and being part of creating something that will benfit everybody at Villanova.”