SOU accommodates smoke-weary public in recreation center schedule

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/rpVdeg)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is continuing to help community members find refuge from the area’s wildfire smoke, even during an upcoming maintenance period for the university’s Student Recreation Center.

The center’s annual closure for maintenance and training had been scheduled for 16 days next month, but has been reduced to 10 days to accommodate public use of its elevated, indoor walking and running track –a popular smoke-free haven over the past month. An average of 32 community members have used the track each evening since the university began offering free admission for two-hour windows each Sunday through Thursday. The facility’s popularity peaked at 73 users on Thursday.

The entire recreation center will be closed from Saturday through Monday of Labor Day weekend. The indoor track will resume its current public hours – from 6 to 8 p.m. daily, Sunday through Thursday – during the period between Labor Day and the maintenance closure (which will run from Monday, Sept. 10, through Wednesday, Sept. 19).

When it reopens following the closure on Thursday, Sept. 20, public hours for the indoor track will shift to 10 a.m. to noon daily, Monday through Saturday. There will be no public hours on Wednesday, Sept. 26, when the recreation center’s grand opening activities will be held.

SOU  President Linda Schott has also invited community members to use other air-conditioned facilities on campus to escape this summer’s wildfire smoke. Facilities and hours of availability are:

The Stevenson Union has a variety of spaces that are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (SOU offers free Wi-Fi to visitors.)

  • Dankook: SU Room 314.Located on the 3rd level of the student union, this space features soft chairs and couches.
  • Game Room: SU Room 330.Located on the 3rd level, this space features soft furniture, video gaming, puzzles and board games.
  • Elmo’s seating: Elmo’s Dining is closed, but Einstein’s Bagels and Coffee is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This space on the union’s main floor features round tables, booths, and small conversation tables. There is one TV.
  • Diversions (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only): Located on the basement level of the union, this space features tables, chairs, soft furniture and cable TV.

The Hannon Library is open during the summer from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Saturdays.

-SOU-

SOU athletic and recreation facility headed toward completion

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/JCprde)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Construction crews have entered the home stretch toward completion of Southern Oregon University’s new Lithia Motors Pavilion and the adjacent Student Recreation Center, with the facilities’ opening date expected to be near the end of February.

Andersen Construction of Portland began work on the 100,000-square-foot combined project in August 2016, and has remained slightly under-budget and largely on-schedule. The buildings will open about a month later than originally planned, because an excess of construction projects in southern Oregon has left subcontractors in short supply.

The state-of-the-art facilities – expected to receive a LEED Gold rating for sustainability – will serve as the home of several SOU athletic teams and as an exercise venue for students. The Lithia Motors Pavilion and Student Recreation Center replace 60-year-old McNeal Pavilion, which was demolished after an engineering study found it was too obsolete for any of its parts to be salvaged.

The Lithia Motors Pavilion will feature a competition gym that can seat more than 1,400 fans for men’s and women’s basketball games and wrestling matches, and women’s volleyball games. The pavilion will also have locker rooms, classrooms, offices and a conference room for academics, offices and a conference room for SOU athletic staff, an athletic training and sports medicine room, a wrestling practice room, an equipment room, a ticket booth and storage areas.

The pavilion received $22 million in bond funding from the state and pledges for about $2 million more from several donors – including $1 million from the local DeBoer family and their company, Lithia Motors. The DeBoers and Lithia pledged another $1 million to fund athletic scholarships.

The Student Recreation Center will feature a two-court recreational gym, suspended indoor running track, fitness center, climbing wall, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor programs area, staff offices, locker rooms and storage areas. The $17.7 million recreation center was funded by fees that SOU students levied upon themselves.

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