BRCC Making Progress on New Fitness & Recreation Center - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

BRCC Making Progress on New Fitness & Recreation Center

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Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) is in the middle of the largest building project in its history.  After years of planning and design, the 35,000-square-foot fitness and recreation center is about to go under roof.

The nearly 5,000 students of BRCC have been gradually changing.  They're now younger, many of them coming straight out of high school, and more of them are enrolled full time.

BRCC says the new fitness center helps give them a more complete "college experience".  This is not the building BRCC had expected to build.

"We started originally with the idea that what the students wanted was a student union," said BRCC Vice President Robert Baldygo.  "Well, we had a lot of information sessions with the students.  It became very clear very quickly that what they wanted was something a little more physical."

To meet that demand, the college in Weyers Cave is building a two-story fitness and recreation center.  It will have a large gymnasium surrounded by a walking and running track, a pair of racquetball courts, three distinct workout areas, multipurpose rooms for activities such as aerobics or yoga, and even game rooms.  The goal is something for every employee and student.

Bridget Baylor with BRCC Community Relations said, "Over the past few years we've noticed a change in the majority of our students, going from a commuter status to being here for longer blocks of time during the day.  And they often have several hours in between classes."

The center's modern design is not just skin deep.  It's being built to meet LEED Silver environmental standards.

"We think that there is a reduction of the cost, obviously in terms of the energy cost and operating the building," Baldygo said.  "Secondly it sort of leads to the sustainability, the reduction of the carbon footprint of the building."

Contractors are about halfway through the project, and should have the center ready for a soft opening early next summer.

The $10 million project is not taxpayer funded.  BRCC took out a loan for construction of the fitness center.  They'll pay it off with student fees, which were steadily increased over the past few years.

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