Construction begins on Aztec Recreation Center amid changes to payment plan


Courtesy of Associated Students

A rendering of the proposed Aztec Recreation Center expansion.

by Jadyn Brandt, Staff Writer

Construction on the Aztec Recreation Center is currently underway after San Diego State students voted to renovate and expand the gym back in a March 2018 student referendum.

In the coming weeks, students can expect a bit of a shake-up at the ARC as equipment is moved around during construction, Vice President of University Affairs George Scott said.

“In the next couple weeks, we’re expecting that two of the basketball courts will be taken off-line and the free-weight equipment and group cycling bikes will be moved into that area,” Scott said. “Students will still be able to continue to play basketball and have access to (equipment and classes) it might just be that the locations have changed.”

Shake Smart was also required to temporarily relocate to the ARC’s new entrance on the opposite side of the facility while construction is ongoing.

Business marketing sophomore and ARC employee Grace Markel said the renovations have had an effect on the day-to-day functions.

“Due to the expansion, we’ve had to relocate the ARC entrance to a narrower part of the facility and this has definitely made it chaotic for members to enter and leave (the ARC) at times,” Markel said. “We hope members can be patient with us during these times because the final result will be well worth the wait and occasional inconveniences.”

The expansion is expected to be completed by the fall semester of 2021 and will increase the size of the ARC from 78,000 square feet to 138,000 square feet. Additions to the ARC include an indoor track, new climbing walls, social and study spaces, office and meeting spaces and a greater number of fitness rooms. 

Scott said he hopes the new ARC will function similarly to the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union for students who live on the north side of campus.

“This really could be a second Student Union,” he said. “Students have a healthy eatery with Shake Smart, they have a place where they can do homework or sit and hangout without having to walk to the library.”

One of the biggest focuses of the expansion is on improving the sustainability of the ARC.

“We’re looking for the ARC to be LEED Double Platinum certified, meaning it will be self sufficient,” Scott said. “Throughout the course of the planning of the ARC there have been multiple voices from different sustainability areas, (and) we’re taking a lot of input from them.”

The new updates to the ARC come at the cost of an increase to the mandatory Student Body Center Fee by $195 per student, bringing the fee to $432 beginning in fall 2021.

The increase in student fees caused some students to vote against the measure in 2018, and the referendum passed narrowly with 51% support and only 23.18% of the student population participating in the election.

Scott said despite the opposition in 2018, the renovation and changes to the payment model are long overdue.

“We’re changing from the monthly payment model to a semester fee,” Scott said. “We’re one of the last universities in the country to switch to this model, and it will give all students access to all of the ARC facilities.”

Kinesiology sophomore Naomi Jenkins said she’s most excited for the extra floor space the ARC will have after renovations, as the single studio room is usually booked with classes and, at times, open machines are scarce.

“I think the ARC upgrade is long overdue especially compared to other state schools with much nicer and bigger gyms than us,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes three machines I need are taken causing me to totally switch up my workout that day. (The expansion) will create more space for everyone. I think the expansion will encourage people to come to the gym and try new types of workouts.”