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New Stanford recreation complex to open Nov. 1, offering rock climbing, swimming, basketball and more

With the opening of the new facility, Stanford hopes to attract a whole new group of users who live, teach or work on the west side of campus, and until now, have not had a comprehensive recreation center close to their dorms, classrooms or offices.

L.A. Cicero Outdoor rec center

Finishers Jorge Gomez and Adrian Valencia of Peck & Hiller Structural Concrete work on the exterior of the new Arrillaga Outdoor Recreation Center.

On the first of November, Stanford will open the doors of the new Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center and the Avery Recreation Pool, a complex that will bring fitness programs, sports and swimming to the west side of campus.

"I hope people will go to the Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center to recreate – rock climb, play basketball, lift weights – and then walk outside to the Avery Recreation Pool for a swim," said Ray Purpur, deputy athletics director.

The new center boasts a state-of-the-art climbing wall, weight training rooms, fitness studios, classrooms, locker rooms and showers, as well as three gyms for basketball, volleyball, badminton and other general recreational activities.

It will house the Outdoor Center, which rents top-of-the-line outdoor equipment at low prices – including tents, backpacks and camp stoves. Inside the Outdoor Center, visitors will find a lounge, an outdoor resource library, a trip planning area and a classroom.

Stanford Cycling – the umbrella organization for the university's road and track racing team, mountain bike racing team, recreational rides and cycling-oriented community service efforts – will make its home in the new center.

Construction crews plan to plaster the 50-meter Avery Recreation Pool this week.

Purpur said he is excited at the prospect of attracting a whole new group of users who live, teach or work on the west side of campus and, until now, have not had a recreation center close to their dorms, classrooms or offices. The new complex is located on Santa Teresa Street, near a student neighborhood that includes Governor's Corner, Lyman Graduate Residences, Lagunita Court and Roble Hall.

"The university and the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation, which will oversee the new center, are committed to the fitness, health and well-being of its faculty, staff and students," he said.

"The new recreation center offers them another place to take a break from their teaching, research, studies and work to get some exercise – whatever their personal fitness goals. That makes us happy. It's what gets us up on the morning – wanting to make Stanford a better place so that the university can pursue its mission. To be able to build a recreation center that draws all that together – we're proud of that."

Stanford offers healthy living and fitness classes through the Health Improvement Program and encourages employees and their families to live healthy lifestyles through its BeWell@Stanford Program.

Purpur said the new center would host the classes and activities of the Dance Division while its home, Roble Gymnasium Building, undergoes renovation.

He said the Arrillaga Family and the Avery Family were the two main benefactors of the new facilities. John Arrillaga also lent his design, project management and construction management skills to the project.

"John came to the construction site every single day – as he has done for all of our athletics projects," Purpur said.

"That is what has made the difference between the building being good and being great. John has paid attention to every detail, right down to the carpet in the elevators and the type of paper towels we use. He's picked the location of every tree on the grounds. He picked the type of grass used in the landscaping."

Stanford had hoped to open the new recreation center and pool in September, but various delays – waiting for the construction dust and debris to settle before plastering the swimming pool, for instance – pushed back the date.

The university has hired Chris Spells as general manager for the new facility. Spells is the former general manager of the Arrillaga Recreation Center at SLAC, which opened in the summer of 2012.