LOGAN – Former USU Student Body President Tyler Tolson graduated and left his Alma Mater several years ago, but he remembers being on campus and campaigning through the wind and the cold telling student after student that the university needed a recreation center.
That was more than five years ago. Tolson was able to see those “freezing” days on the Quad and countless meetings finally pay off. The nearly $30-million student-funded Aggie Recreation Center (ARC) was one of his main platforms, and it officially opened Thursday morning.
“Taking that inanimate dream and walking in here today is a little bit overwhelming, to be able to see how far it has come,” Tolson said in a morning celebration at the ARC. “To be able to just look up at the rafters and imagine every single screw that was screwed in, every single climbing hole that was screwed into that wall, the shaping of this entire building, its unreal. To think that I had some little part of that is incredible.”
Approving the new facility was no easy task, and sometimes controversial. Many objected to the $75 fee each student would have to pay every semester. The decision was put to a student vote that sparked strong opinions and arguments in the student newspaper, across social media platforms and around campus. Current Student Body President Trevor Olsen said he initially voted against the ARC, a decision he now regrets.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for every student that proved me wrong that this is a building we actually need on campus,” he said. “This building is something the students will take pride in.”
The three-story structure is designed to give the users an outdoor feel. Walls are covered in murals of nearby Mount Gog, Bear Lake and Logan Canyon’s Wind Caves. The hallway is built to resemble a slot canyon. The facility includes three basketball/volleyball courts, a multi-activity court, a weight room, multiple cardio rooms, an indoor track, a cycling studio, a three-story rock climbing wall and the Outdoor Recreation Program’s retail shop.
“I want to emphasize as a student, that this building has been built for students, by students,” Campus Recreation Student Director Brian Isom said. “Every step of the way, each step of the process, (Vice President of Student Services James Morales) and the architects we were working with, they all made sure to reach out to us students and to make sure that the ideas that were coming up and the decision being made were decisions that the students would appreciate.”