The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU breaks ground for Dedman expansion

Under windy conditions, the Mustang Band played as members ofthe SMU community gathered Thursday for the groundbreaking of theexpansion and renovation of the Dedman Center for LifetimeSports.

“To every fellow student here, in class and at ouruniversity, we owe ourselves a huge thank you for what we have donefor each other and for those who will come after us,” StudentBody President Thomas Kincaid said.

The ceremony, attended by approximately 250 people according toofficials, capped over five years of planning and initiativeby the SMU student body to update the current facility.

James Caswell, vice president of Student Affairs, commended thestudent body for it inventiveness and forward thinking in bringingabout the expansion.     “SMUstudents took on the project and proposed funding through anincrease in tuition. Wow,” Caswell said. 

Jennifer Chapa, a senior English major, said raising tuition isworth it to make working out more gratifying and enjoyable.

“They still need to expand it [and raise tuition] eventhough it won’t benefit me,” she said.

Brentney Hamilton, a work-study student at the Cinco Center,said not having enough machines to accommodate everyone angersstudents.

“People get really mad about not having enoughmachines,” Hamilton said. “This place is crowded upuntil 11 o’clock at night. [The expansion] is somethingstudents will benefit from.”

The SMU Board of Trustees added a 1.5 percent tuition increasebeginning in the fall of 2003 to fund the $25 millionproject.  Donor contributions will go toward updated equipmentand other enhancements for the facility.

“We wanted to see it [all] funded by donors because wewere wary of having today’s students pay for tomorrow’sstudents,” said Michael Dorff, student representative to thebuilding and grounds committee for the Board of Trustees. “Over the course of three years, we realized we’d haveto take the initiative,” he said.   

Construction will begin on June 1, 2004 and will more thantriple its size — from 50,000 to 165,000 square feet.

Phase I of the project includes the expansion of the center. Newamenities include a five-lane recreation pool, a 15,000-square footweight room and fitness area and an outdoor recreation area,including an interactive fountain pool and two sand volleyballcourts. This phase is scheduled to open in fall 2005.  

Phase II will renovate the existing center. Amenities include anexpanded indoor track and a multi-purpose court for indoor soccerand field hockey.  It is scheduled to open in the summer of2006.

Judith Banes, director of recreational sports, said studentinput played an important role in designing the new center. TheStudent Senate and RAs aided in surveying the campus to see whatpeople wanted in the new center.

“Decisions were made on what we can put in the buildingnow that we can’t add later,” Banes said.

Guy Bellaver, a student representative on the Dedman User Group,said that this university lacks a place of gathering for studentsand the expanded sports center will alleviate the problem.

“We wanted the recreation center to be a place wherestudents want to gather,” Bellaver said. “We felt itwould be good for the recreation center to be a focal point oncampus for students to attend.”

The renovated Dedman Center will be a place where the richdiversity of the campus comes together, Kincaid said.

“The Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports is about community,and ultimately, this new building is about unity,” hesaid.

The current facilities will be available until the renovationstarts during the summer of 2005. The fitness and weight room willbe at the Cinco Center until the equipment is transferred to thenew area.

Robert and Nancy Dedman donated money in 1976 to complete the$3.5 million construction of the Dedman Center for LifetimeSports.

The new facility will help in recruitment and will put SMU onpar with other universities, said Tim Moore, associate director ofRecreational Sports and Spirit.

The combined effort of Student Senate, student trustees and thesupport of the Board of Trustees finally brought about theexpansion, Dorff said.

“SMU is responsive to student’s needs,” hesaid. “This expansion project shows the impact studentleaders have here.”

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