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Renovations approved for Southwest Rec awaiting approval

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Posted: Friday, March 21, 2008 12:00 am

Plans to give UF's Southwest Recreation Center a $16 million makeover have gotten a couple nods so far, but they still need approval from two state institutions.

Renovations to SWRC and other campus spots could start in fall 2009 as long as the Florida Legislature and the Board of Governors, which oversees Florida's 11 public universities, approve UF's recommendations for distribution of the Capital Improvement Trust Fund. The board will meet Thursday, and the Legislature is currently in session.

The $23 million fund is collected through student tuition fees and released to universities every three to four years, said Dave Kratzer, associate vice president for UF student affairs.

David Bowles, director of recreational sports, said SWRC's cardiovascular rooms - now 5,600 square feet - would be expanded by 14,350 square feet to the corner of Hull Road and Bledsoe Drive.

"You've got to do it right," Bowles said.

He said he hopes to have the renovations completed by spring 2011, but ongoing construction wouldn't disrupt the center much, and it would remain open.

Department of Recreational Sports records show that after SWRC's first renovation in 2001, a 34,738-square-foot expansion, student participation nearly doubled.

He said project members also plan to add an indoor track and expand the lobby and area for group fitness classes - which would allow for up to 25 more classes a week. Personal trainers would also have their own training center for injury rehabilitation and massages.

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