RecSports welcomes 20 millionth visitor

The Division of Recreational Sports will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the first major renovation of Gregory Gymnasium and celebrate its 20 millionth visitor with a plaque dedication ceremony and reception on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. and a special open house on Nov. 10, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both events will be held at the historic facility.

RecSports Associate Vice President and Director Tom Dison will host the plaque dedication event, which will feature remarks by Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Juan Gonzalez. Student Body President Andrew Solomon will oversee the dedication of a bronze plaque honoring the legions of students who supported the renovation to better serve the university community. A short reception featuring entertainment and refreshments will follow.

Today's ultra-modern Gregory Gym - with its reputation as a center of campus activity and state-of-the-art recreational equipment and services - is the direct result of the 1997 renovation. The project provided increased recreational space, enhancements of existing facilities and the addition of many new features and amenities, including a suspended track for running and jogging, an indoor climbing wall, squash courts, Sports Café, Outdoor Center, Wellness Center, Gym Store, sauna, billiards/games room with big screen TV and air conditioning throughout the facility.

The renovation project was made possible by a March 1993 student-approved referendum that provided funding through a $1.90 per semester credit hour fee. After 22 months of construction, the "new" Gregory Gym re-opened on November 12, 1997, following the $26.3 million facelift. Opening day attracted 12,000 visitors, with 100,000 passing through the doors within the first three weeks and 1 million in the first nine and a half months of operation.

Gregory Gym has been a part of campus life since 1930. Thomas Watt Gregory, the first ex-student appointed to the Board of Regents, proposed the construction of a modern gym and waged the fund-raising campaign to build the facility. In 1963, the first enhancement of Gregory Gym took place with the addition of the Annex. This addition allowed for greater diversity in programs and activities for the growing University community. In 2005, the renovation project was completed with the opening of the Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex, featuring a completely renovated Natatorium and a new two-acre outdoor complex consisting of three pools, spa, café, deck area for lounging and reception garden.

As the most popular recreational facility on campus, Gregory Gym attracted about 5,000 students and other RecSports participants each day. The facility is a center of activity for the university community by hosting more than 5,500 activities and events for student organizations each year.