UNR announces $46 million fitness center

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UNR announces $46 million fitness center

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UNR announced its plan to build a new $46 million fitness facility on Virginia Street, north of the Brian Whalen parking garage and south of the Lawlor Events Center.

The University of Nevada, Reno announced Monday it has received an $8 million donation from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation to help build a new $46 million fitness center.

The new center is scheduled to open in late 2016 and will offer more than 100,000 square feet of space for fitness and recreation, including an indoor track and three full-court gymnasiums for basketball and other sports.

UNR President Marc Johnson says the new facility will recruit and retain more students, which will help UNR increase its enrollment from nearly 19,000 to 22,000 students in the next decade.

"You know that education has been the fundamental part of human capital development for decades. But what if we put a really smart brain on top of a weak body. It doesn't really perform to the greatest possible ability. When you have a strong body, you study better, you learn better, you perform better."

Jim Fitzsimmons is director of campus recreation. He says the current facility, Lombardi, was built in 1974 to serve a campus of 4,000 students.

"For a campus this size, Lombardi is grossly undersized to serve this community. And if you come up to Lombardi during peak hours, it looks like an ant farm--there are people crawling all over each other to get to the equipment. And that's a problem we've known we've had for a lot of years."

The total capital cost for the project is $46 million. Along with the $8 million donation, funding will come from additional private fundraising and long-term debt, which will be covered by existing student fees and a new fee of $15 per student per semester.