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Construction Of E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center Begins

Esther Ciammachilli

Officials at the University of Nevada, Reno along with a handful of donors and community members broke ground on the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center.

Credit University of Nevada, Reno
Inside rendering of the 108,000 square-foot E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center.

In grandiose fashion, onlookers welcomed what will soon be the heart of student health and fitness at UNR. The 108 thousand square-foot E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center is scheduled to open early in 2017. Construction of this new building comes as enrollment at the university hits an all-time high. Caden Fabbi is student body president. He says a lack of space for health and wellness is a growing concern.

“We need to provide the right amount of space at least for students to exercise and to be healthy and really promote that kind of culture on our campus. And that's kind of missing right now,” Fabbi said.

Credit University of Nevada, Reno
Outside rendering of the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center scheduled to open early in 2017 on the UNR campus.

The Lombardi Center, UNR’s current fitness facility, was built to accommodate a campus population of about 4,000 students. Current enrollment is over 20 thousand.

University officials want to keep this number up, and they're expecting the new fitness center to help with that. Jim Fitzsimmons is director of campus recreation and wellness.

“When we look at things like recruitment and retention, buildings of this nature are huge players in that,” Fitzsimmons said.

The center’s estimated $46 million price tag will be paid for through a combination of student fees and both private and public donations.

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.