Middle Georgia State College expects to open its long-awaited Recreation and Wellness Center on Monday, April 7.
A formal grand opening will take place this fall, but the $21.5 million complex is nearly complete, and college officials want to make it available to students as quickly as possible.
"It's going to be an incredible boost to Macon Campus students who have had somewhat limited recreation and wellness opportunities due to space issues," said Jennifer Brannon, vice president for Student Affairs. "We're thrilled about what this new facility offers them."
After the facility's final inspection, the opening date will be confirmed via the Middle Georgia State website, social media and other means of communication.
Tour dates prior to opening are confirmed. Students, faculty and staff will have chances to tour the facility from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 3, and 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5. The April 5 tours will be open to the general public as well. April 5 is the date of the Cherry Blossom Festival's Tunes and Balloons, which takes place on the Macon Campus.
The new center is located on the north side of the Macon Campus lake, across Ivey Drive from College Station, the student residential community. The center includes an aquatics area with a current pool; fitness area; basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts; interactive gaming area; bowling alley, indoor walking track and food area.
A new facility had been planned for the former Macon State for several years to replace a small wellness center located next to the gym in one of the campus’s oldest buildings. But those plans were put on hold while the institution worked through a consolidation with the former Middle Georgia College. The two schools formally merged in January 2013 to become Middle Georgia State College, with campuses in Macon, Cochran, Dublin, Eastman and Warner Robins.
The new center is funded by a $140 per semester recreation and wellness fee paid by students who take classes on the Macon Campus. Students on the Warner Robins Campus, where recreation and wellness facilities and activities have been expanded in recent years, pay $40 per semester. All recreation facilities on all Middle Georgia State campuses are open to all students. As a practical matter, most use those at the location where they take the majority of their classes.
"This new facility may be on the Macon Campus, but it's a resource for all of Middle Georgia State College," Hagler said. "It adds a lot to the overall quality of the college's extracurricular opportunities."
While details continue to be worked out, here is what has been decided so far about the rec center's opening, who can use it and when:
• Operating hours for most of the rec center will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The aquatics area will be open from 11 a.m. 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
• All currently enrolled students may use the rec center at no additional cost.
• Students who attended what is now Middle Georgia State as of fall 2011 and paid the recreation and wellness fee may use the facility from April 7, 2014 to May 7, 2016. This category includes students who have since graduated and former students who transferred or otherwise left the college in good standing. Students who currently are juniors and will graduate in 2015 can continue to use the facility through May 7, 2016. Those who paid the rec and wellness fee and have graduated since fall 2011 and former students who paid the fee and left in good standing must email Kathy Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn what they need to do.
• Faculty and staff may start using the rec center as soon as it opens. Initially they will not be charged a fee but beginning September 1, 2014, faculty and staff who want to continue using the facility will pay for membership, tentatively set at $15 per month.
• Every person eligible to use the facility will have to complete some paperwork and a tour/orientation before getting started.
• The Macon Campus's old Wellness Center will close for good on Wednesday, April 2. College officials are discussing new uses for that space.