Students and faculty gathered Friday afternoon in the parking lot off Heisman Drive for the groundbreaking of the new Recreation and Wellness Center.
"Today is the day that we break ground on an incredible facility," said Ainsley Carry, vice president of Student Affairs. "About 18 to 24 months after today, we will be walking into one of the best recreation and wellness centers in the Southeastern Conference."
Features of the center include a large cardio and weight room, a one-third mile indoor inclined track, an outdoor pool, a three-story rock-climbing wall, eight basketball courts, an indoor soccer field and a game room.
The wellness center will also feature multiple locker rooms for men and women with showers, and a wide variety of fitness classes as well as personal training options will be offered.
The 240,000-square-foot center, which is 2.5 times the size of the current recreation center, will cost approximately $72 million, according to former SGA President Kurt Sasser.
SGA President Kirby Turnage acknowledged the student body, past SGA presidents, the board of trustees and President Gogue for their help in making the dream of a new recreation center a reality.
"This facility really is long overdue--we're standing here today, students, mainly because of your voice," Turnage said. "It's finally time to bring a premier recreation and wellness center to Auburn University."
According to Carry, 74 percent of students voted in 2008 for construction of a new recreation center during the administration of SGA president Lauren Hayes.
"This is a story about the power of students--when you believe in something and collectively work toward that, you can make a huge difference for this University," Carry said. "This is also a statement from our student body about the importance of a sound mind, a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid."