ARI JACOBS, Staff Writer
The Activity and Recreation Center Programming Committee (ARCPC) displayed tentative plans last week to transform the Alliant Center power plant downtown into a student activity center.
Representatives of ARCPC hosted poster sessions to publicize their proposal to the campus community. The tentative blueprints involve compartmentalizing the 120,000 square feet of space into distinct floor plans: a lower level, a pool level, a floor with “big open space,” a bridge level, a green roof level, a floor for the health center, a fitness level and a top roof level. The committee states that they hope to meet the “recreational, athletic and ‘third space’ needs of the campus,” as judged by data collection from Beloit Student Congress (BSC) to meetings with the Buccaneer coaching staff.
The proposed design of the building is a hybridization of an athletic center and student union. The lower “club” level, for example, consists of space for student organizations such as BSC, studying, pool tables, as well as training areas for students interested in yoga or martial arts. Next to this club area resides a 150-seat lecture hall designed specifically for presentations.
Above the lower level is a room named by the ARCPC “big open space.” The space, measuring 118 by 148 feet, has been envisioned by the committee as an area where both NCAA teams and athletic clubs could host practices over the winter. Ideally, the large multipurpose room would be open to any group of students interested in utilizing it. The committee has not yet decided if the space will be turf or hard floor.
Located above the multipurpose room near the top of the building, the Alliant wellness center may likely replace the health center in Porter as a central space for student health. The new wellness center would feature more open, dynamic spaces—including areas for teaching and studying—and a light therapy room. Students lounging in the wellness center will be situated relatively close to the green roof. Reminiscent of the roof on the Science Center, the green roof will consist of a balcony and a raised vegetable bed for use in a café on a lower floor.
Athletically-minded students will enjoy the pool, broken up into six lanes with a length of 25 yards, as well as the fitness center located above the wellness center. A 177-meter, three-lane outdoor track will wrap around the roof and entrance of the building to provide runners an overhanging view of the city.
The committee also unveiled plans to provide students 24-hour access to certain parts of the building. Students will be able to enter areas such as the club level using their keycards, while other areas of the building will be limited to daytime access only. Additionally, wireless Internet will be available in the building as well.
The committee has stressed that its plans are not necessarily set in stone. Next steps in the acquisition of the Alliant Center include meeting with the Board of Trustees in April, and meeting with student club representatives to receive feedback. The administration must decide Fall 2012 whether or not to invest in the power plant.