KINGSVILLE, TX -- Campus administrators held a soft opening for the new $12 million rec center at Texas A&M University-Kingsville last week. A formal grand opening will take place during the fall semester, officials said, when the community also will be invited to view the center.

The new 36,000-square-foot rec center features a 5,200-square-foot cardio and weight room that includes inclusive, handicapped accessible equipment, a 1/12-mile elevated indoor jogging track, two multipurpose gyms for intramurals and open recreation sports, two full-sized basketball courts and new locker rooms.

University officials said they hope the new rec center will attract new students and provide a valuable social setting.

“Across the country we know that high school students—especially those who are into fitness—want to go to universities that provide facilities for them both inside and outside the classroom,” Steven Tallant, university president, told local media. “We know, for example, that many students at different campuses go more to the fitness and wellness center than they do to the student union building and it becomes a place where they gather and meet. So we know having facilities such as these are very important not only in recruiting students but also in helping them develop healthy lifestyles.”

Full-time students will have free use of the new facility as part of a recreation-sports fee of $100 per semester. The new rec center will employ about 30 students and be open 100 hours each week.