MONMOUTH, OR -- Western Oregon University (WOU) recently broke ground on a $30 million health and wellness center.

The target opening date for the center is Jan. 2011, and designers are aiming for Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The project includes an 80,000-square-foot addition to the school’s existing physical education building. The new rec center will comprise 45,000 square feet of that addition and will be built in the existing facility’s parking lot.

The new health and wellness center will include a 2,400-square-foot strength and weight training area, a 3,600-square-foot cardiovascular area, a 40-foot-by-40-foot rock climbing wall, a two-court gymnasium with an elevated track, two racquetball courts, new locker rooms for the recreation facility and the existing pool and gymnasium, an equipment checkout area, three multipurpose rooms, and office space for campus recreation.

The existing PE building’s aquatics facility also will be renovated. Projects include replacing the liner in the existing pool and adding a therapy pool on the pool deck. Upgrades to heating, ventilation and electrical systems also are planned, as well as seismic upgrades to the building.

Several green features will be included in the project as part of its quest for LEED Gold certification, including stormwater runoff management and the use of natural ventilation in the building. Additionally, the installation of low-flow faucets and showerheads, as well as dual-flush toilets, is expected to reduce water consumption by at least 40 percent. The renovated natatorium will include a heat recovery unit.