Release Date: June 29, 2009
New Recreation Areas Planned for ASU Students
The demolition of the vacant, 10-story University Hall scheduled for later this fall will open up the east end of Angelo State University’s Mall to additional recreational facilities and green spaces as the university seeks to provide more leisure and recreational opportunities for students.
The planned implosion of the 104,000-square-foot high rise, which has been vacant since 2005, is anticipated for late September to mid October, depending on the time required to complete asbestos abatement and other preparation work, according to John H. Russell, director of facilities planning and construction for ASU.
Once the University Hall site is cleared, ASU will close a section of university-owned Dena Street between Varsity Drive and Van Buren Street. Dena Street will end on campus with a circular drop-off lane where vehicles can unload passengers adjacent to various recreational facilities.
Planned new facilities will include a half-mile jogging and walking trail, picnic and gathering areas, sand volleyball courts and terrace seating walls that can provide the background for an earthen amphitheater, Russell said. Public art, including a sculpture and wind chimes, is planned along the Mall sidewalks which terminate opposite the Massie Residence Halls. Additionally, the ASU Pavilion, which is located directly east of the Food Service Center, will be relocated to the south in the region being opened up by the closure of Dena.
“We want an outdoor environment where the kids can relax, play, jog, read and just visit,” Russell said. “This will open up new possibilities for them and enhance the beauty of the campus.”
ASU President Joseph C. Rallo said the planned facilities represent another step in the university’s goal to become a fully residential campus where students have expanded leisure and recreational activities to meet their needs outside the classroom.
“Angelo State is committed to enhancing the extracurricular opportunities for our students,” Rallo said. “These enhancements will not only benefit our students, but also the university as we work to grow our enrollment to 10,000 students over the next decade.”
Another project that will enhance student recreation is the expansion of the Center for Human Performance to include new recreational facilities, Russell said. These facilities will include a new weight room, jogging track and climbing wall for students. A contract for this project is scheduled to be awarded by the end of the year. This project is funded by student fees.
Russell said the university will also be examining use of between 16 and 20 acres of ASU land between Foster Field and Knickerbocker Road. ASU is exploring a public/private partnership to develop that land with mixed-use facilities, including possible housing for graduate and married students, retail outlets, restaurants and public facilities, such as a city police/municipal court building.
Earlier this month, a university billboard was removed from the site. Later this fall, it will be replaced with a new ASU monument sign to delineate the southern boundary of the Angelo State campus.