Oct. 15, 2004
UW-RF Breaks Ground for Hunt/Knowles Addition
By Molly Exner
UW-RF News Bureau
Groundbreaking for a $2.5 million improvement to the UW-River Falls W.H. Hunt Arena and Robert P. Knowles Physical Education and Recreation Center is scheduled during Homecoming weekend at10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Knowles Center Lobby.
A brief ceremony will mark the beginning of construction for additions to the Hunt Arena and Knowles Center, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2005.
Speakers scheduled for the ceremony include Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls; Mary Halada, vice chancellor for administration and finance; Rick Bowen, athletic director; Dean Connie Foster of the College of Education and Professional Studies; and Jeremy Kerg, Falcons' wide receiver coach and UW-RF student.
The renovation of UW-RF athletic facilities will provide 12,300 square feet of additional space, including two new locker rooms with 50 lockers each. The lockers will wrap around the perimeter of the reconstructed room, allowing UW-RF Falcon football and hockey teams to meet between periods during games. The newly remodeled training room will have 14 taping and treatment tables compared to the current five.
In addition, the improvements will convert the existing training room into a laundry facility, providing more office space and increasing the number of whirlpools from two to five.
The Hunt Arena and Knowles Center offers a variety of activities and opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members. The Hunt Arena is home to UW-RF Falcon hockey and the Knowles Center is the summer home to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs have held its summer training camp at UW-RF for the past 14 years. Summer camp negotiations between the University and the KCC worked as a driving force to approve the proposal.
Halada said, "The Chiefs had very specific needs that they were requesting for contract renewal. At that time, a dozen other institutions courted them very seriously. We were able to move the project along because of the economic impact their presence makes on this area."
Halada noted that the improvements to the building were scheduled for the Knowles Building when it was initially constructed in 1987, but were never funded. The current improvements were included as part of a major health and human performance facilities construction and renovation proposal that were likely not to have been completed until 2010 if Gov. Jim Doyle and the State Legislature had not expedited the renovations funding.
The $2.5 million project is a collaboration of funding from the state and program revenue including, Chiefs’ revenues, revenues from Hunt Arena and separate student fees.
The expansion also includes installing air conditioning for the Knowles building as well as for the new addition. This is a long-needed improvement for large events such as graduation ceremonies, said Halada.
According to Halada, air conditioning was a requirement of the Chiefs training camp, due to recent emphasis that the NFL has placed on player safety following the death of Vikings’ offensive lineman Corey Stringer from heat exhaustion.
The Hunt and Knowles complex is a place where the campus and community unite, said Halada. To learn more about individual memberships, specific activities offered or a schedule of events, call 715/425-4289 or visit the Web site at www.uwrf.edu/student-services/hk/welcome.php.