Big changes are ahead for the North Campus Recreation Building.

Last week, the University’s Board of Regents approved a $13 million renovation to the NCRB. The project will also include the construction of an 18,000 square foot addition. In 2013, the regents enacted a $65-per-term student fee to fund renovations for the University’s unions and recreation facilities.

About 30 members of the North Campus community gathered Tuesday night to participate in a town hall with the firm contracted to complete the project.

Charles Lewis, the senior vice president of Integrated Design Solutions, led the meeting and presented attendees with mock-up renovation designs. Mike Widen, the director of Recreational Sports, co-facilitated the meeting and helped field attendees’ questions.

“We wanted to take you through where we’re at in general with the planning,” Lewis said.

Though not all of the building will be renovated, the focus will be on improving the flow of the facility, as well as changing its front entrance to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

“You drive by it today … it could be a warehouse, could be a computer science lab, could be a Costco without a sign,” Lewis said, explaining that the redesign will help passersby easily identify the NCRB.

The changes will include the addition of 18,000 square feet, as well as a gymnasium with multipurpose activity courts, a 16-person whirlpool, a table tennis room, locker room enhancements, flooring upgrades, air-conditioning and large multipurpose group space. There are also plans to convert what are now five racquetball courts into four squash courts.

“I want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing by having this building scream ‘come workout, come recreate,’ ” Lewis said.

During the initial phases of construction, Lewis said, the building will remain open. However, it is set to close for a year during later stages of the renovations, starting in the summer of 2016. The NCRB’s closing will coincide with the Intramural Sports Building’s reopening, which closes the summer of 2015 for renovations.

Those in attendance at the event discussed the concerns of students who live on North Campus during the reconstruction, and those of individuals who pay for membership and workout at NCRB.

For LSA junior Katelyn Gaither, renovating the NCRB is a top priority.

“Right now with the NCRB, we don’t have the space necessary to fulfill all the needs that are obviously addressed here,” she said.

She added that even though students and those paying for a membership can currently use the facilities, the NCRB struggles to accommodate at the North Campus population.

“Once you get here, when everyone’s trying to come in here, in rush hour, in the hot hours, there is no room. It’s stuffy. It’s suffocating, and it’s something they’re trying to address with these renovations,” Gaither said.

Despite living on North Campus, Gaither still believes that inconveniencing users for a year would only be a small price to pay in order to gain more modern facilities.

“We’re willing to go through the change process in order to make something better because we know it’s going to make it better in the long run,” said Gaither.

Business junior Ian Savas — an executive board member for Building a Better Michigan, a student advisory group with a voice in University development projects — said students often find themselves underrepresented at this type of meeting.

“A trend I tend to notice in these meetings is that students are not as interested in attending a meeting that they get an e-mail for, because they get 100 e-mails about 100 things to go to,” he said.

Savas said the renovations will ultimately help students living on North Campus enjoy using the NCRB facilities.

“No one likes working out in a racquetball room where it’s hot and sweaty,” he said.

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