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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Student Recreation Center gets revamped

Sarah Rose
A board sits outside NIU’s Recreation Center locker rooms stating they are closed for remodel. The Recreation Center locker rooms are receiving $1.37 million renovation. (Sarah Rose | Northern Star)

DeKALB – If you have experienced long lines waiting for a bathroom at NIU’s Recreation Center, expect to wait a little longer. 

The first phase of renovations to the Recreation Center’s locker rooms is already underway with an expected completion date of early February, according to Belinda Roller, NIU’s director of Architectural and Engineering Services.  

“The first phase scope of work will include replacement of approximately two-thirds of the lockers within both locker rooms,” Roller said. “Along with painting, ceiling upgrades and flooring replacement and reconfiguration of the men’s shower room to create individual stalls.”  

The following phases will replace the remaining lockers and revamp the associated restrooms. There has yet to be an estimated completion date for these final phases, but Roller expects they should finish within the next year.  

The renovations were planned to begin September 2019, but funding uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic placed the project on hold. 

“With the return of campus activities in the post-pandemic environment, the need for renovation updates to the locker room areas was brought back to the forefront, so the project was brought back online,” Roller said. 

The first phase of the project is expected to cost around $700,000, with the overall project budget sitting at $1.37 million, according to Roller. 

Funding for the project comes from auxiliary reserves. Auxiliaries are revenue-generating operations like the Holmes Student Center or campus dining. Part of those operations’ net revenues are held back in auxiliary reserves to pay for the maintenance of those facilities.  

The construction has inconvenienced some students who are used to changing in the locker rooms. 

Sophomore mechanical engineering major Charles Portis said the experience has not stopped his workouts, but he looks forward to the project’s completion. 

“I’ve been changing in the hall, but I’d rather change in the locker rooms,” Portis said. “I’m glad they’re improving them, and hopefully, we get the sauna back up and running again.”  

Gavin Markert, a junior history major, has mixed feelings about the renovations. 

“The improvements will be nice, but I’m not sure if they’re needed. The bathrooms were fine, and so was the sauna when it was open,” Markert said. “The only problem I had was with some of the lockers getting stuck and getting someone from the front to open them for me.” 

Until the construction is finished, there are two gender-neutral restrooms near the Outdoor Adventures end of the facility and two gendered restrooms by courts seven and eight for students to change in.  

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