Two universities on the West Coast are at different stages in their plans for new recreation centers. California State University Sacramento (Sacramento State) is in the beginning of its process with the announcement this week of a $10 million gift for a planned $73 million Recreation, Wellness and Events Center. At the same time, Central Washington University (CWU) in Ellensburg, WA is at the groundbreaking stage for its new $40.7 million Student Union and Recreation Center.

Real estate developer and San Diego Chargers owner Alex G. Spanos and his wife, Faye, gave the cornerstone donation for both Sacramento State’s new center and for the remodeling of Hornet Stadium. The proposed 236,00-square-foot multi-purpose center will include a new student health center, fitness center, rock-climbing wall, swimming pool, athletic courts, bowling center, conference center and an 8,000-seat arena for events such as commencement and intercollegiate athletics.

The new center passed a referendum vote of the students in April 2004 with a pledge that the University President Alexander Gonzalez would raise $23 million toward the building. Student fees have increased $10 per semester, and once the university raises its portion, student fees for the center will increase to a total of $110 per semester.

In the meantime, CWU will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for its new 228,261-square-foot recreation center, which is scheduled to open in January 2006. The center will be three-stories tall and include a four-court gymnasium, elevated running track, rock-climbing wall, fitness/cardiovascular and strength training areas, group exercise rooms, outdoor equipment rentals and locker rooms.

The student union component, scheduled to open in April 2006, will include dining services, the University Store, tenant spaces, a theatre, meeting rooms, student government and administrative offices, and the student radio station.

CWU’s free, public groundbreaking ceremony will include a barbecue, climbing wall, competitions, giveaways and live entertainment to celebrate the facility. Initial planning for the new Student Union and Recreation Center began back in 1995.