The cold, wet December weather was no match for hundreds of University of Washington Bothell students, faculty and staff who turned out to celebrate the grand opening Thursday (Dec. 6) of the $3.3 million, 2.5 acre sports and recreation complex.
With a shared soccer and softball field, tennis courts, a sand volleyball court and a basketball court that will briefly double as an ice skating rink in February, the student-funded complex will meet the needs of a multitude of intramural sports and activities.
Kevin King, president of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell and avid soccer player, says the complex is not just a sports field, but part of the UW Bothell community experience.
“Community is huge on this campus. So we’ve been able to come together, play sports, build new friendships. That’s what we’re all about here at UW Bothell.” King threw out the first pitch of the home run derby.
UW Bothell alumnus Eric Chan said he is thrilled that students will finally have a place where all sports and activities will be supported. He was among the group of Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts who, in 2008, had trouble finding a place to practice due to a lack of funding.
“Oftentimes, we would get kicked off the field or the lights would shut off because we never had the funding to reserve fields. So our captain Ali Bulzomi recognized this and brought it to the administration,” Chan said. Bulzomi, a sophomore at the time, took the idea of an on campus sports field to vice chancellor of administration and planning, Marilyn Cox, who helped put the wheels in motion.
Chancellor Kenyon Chan commended all of the students who made the complex a reality and said their legacy will help develop the whole student. “A center like this will allow students to blend both their physical fitness and their intellectual work so that they are well rounded and well developed throughout their college career.”
Alumnus Chan says that even though he has already graduated he is happy to see the sports complex.
“It means that students will have an opportunity to meet other people, to learn and also get involved,” he said. “I would never have gotten involved so much in school if it wasn’t for the Ultimate Frisbee club. That led me to join student government, join different clubs and be captain of multiple different sports.”
The sports and recreation complex is the first of three major construction projects to be completed over the next two years on the Bothell campus. The $68 million science and academic building is expected to open in late 2014. Also, the 4,500 square-foot Sarah Simonds Green Conservatory, complete with a greenhouse, education and exhibit space, is scheduled for summer 2013 completion.