NDSU students will soon have exciting new options at the Wallman Wellness Center.
In early June, construction is scheduled to begin on an $11 million aquatic addition that was initiated and will be funded by students. The North Dakota Legislature approved the project this past session.
Some of the project's major features include a leisure pool, six-lane lap pool, vortex and spa. Work is expected to be completed by fall 2016.
"I am ecstatic. This is a project that students have been involved with for three years," said Hilary Haugeberg, former student body vice president and a member of the project's building committee. "This has been on the minds of students for a long time, and it is something we also wanted for NDSU students yet to come."
The student body voted in spring 2013 to approve construction and bond financing for the project through student fees. Those fees will increase in fall 2016 to support operations of the facility.
"There will be a definite 'wow' factor when students see it," said Jobey Lichtblau, Wallman Wellness Center director. "It's going to be a state-of-the-art facility and I think students will be very pleased with the number of options they'll have and the appearance of the addition."
The project includes a "wet" classroom for activities like scuba instruction, gender neutral locker rooms, a sauna and additional women's and men's locker rooms.
Students also expressed a desire for areas to socialize, so plans call for lounge seating at the leisure pool, as well as project's signature piece – a fire pit.
"The new addition will offer opportunities for student socialization," said Barbara Lonbaken, dean for student wellness and building committee member. "Students wanted a place in the leisure pool area where they could get together, socialize and have fun."
Haugeberg is delighted with the plans, saying NDSU students will appreciate and highly use the new facility. "The opportunities will be endless – classes, recreation and also activities for those students who are not comfortable in the water," she said. "We are so grateful and thankful that it passed during the legislative session. It is really something students have wanted for years."
Lichtblau suggests the addition will be attractive to prospective students, noting a facility of this type is reflective of NDSU's status as a Division I university. He also said parking along the building's north side will be impacted during and after the construction period.
The Wallman Wellness Center was built in 2001, with an earlier addition completed in 2007. The center also houses the Student Health Service, Disability Services and child care facilities.
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