PAC renovations, new aquatic center slated for late 2020 completion

Construction of PAC phase II will bring some exciting new features to university.

The Board of Trustees approved construction of phase I and phase II of the project in September of 2017. Phase I called for the construction of the Screaming Eagles Arena, which officially opened in April. The $25 million project exceeded state appropriation money by approximately $9 million and included multiple completion setbacks. 

Phase II includes renovations to the PAC along with the addition of an aquatic center on the north side of the Recreational, Fitness and Wellness center.

The aquatic center will include a 25-meter by 25-yard pool with eight lanes for competition and two for warm-up. The area will provide bench seating for 200 spectators, two locker rooms and timing and scoreboard equipment. Jim Wolfe, director of Facilities, Operations and Planning, said there will also be diving platforms and a 15 person hot tub.

Students and faculty will have access to the aquatic center at certain times.

The PAC II also consists of a full renovation of the existing PAC. There will be a larger weight room going in and training room. Five classrooms and two labs will be added along with more study and lounging areas for students. 

One of the courts will be changed into a multi-surface court so students will be able to play soccer in there comfortably. The renovation will also add drop-down batting cages for softball and baseball. Wolfe said they’ve made a media room on the third floor and new offices for all the athletics and kinesiology. Seats were taken out of the basketball court to give the PAC more space for renovations.

The construction has caused some issues with kinesiology students and faculty. Kinesiology faculty were all moved out, and according to Wolfe, most of them went to the health professions area where there was space. There are some classes going on in the gym, however, no classrooms in the old PAC are being used. There were only 3, two of them being taken out and the last one has been demolished. 

 “There are no “classrooms,” just the kinesiology lab and the three courts,” Wolfe said.

It is more difficult to enter the existing PAC. Students have to enter the PAC by going through the Arena, but Wolfe said they’re making sure that everyone is going to be able to get out in case of an emergency.

He also mentioned some setbacks that have happened. On the first day of school, there were lines that connected the Internet, Wi-Fi and telephone connection to housing. He also said that there have been issues with the weather. Then there was some foundation work that they had to account for.

The state government has allocated $38 million to phase II of PAC renovations. Wolfe said he expects the project to be completed in late 2020. 

The primary contractor USI is working with is Empire Contractors is the primary contractor for the project. They also contracted for the construction of the Arena and the Welcome Center.

“Everything is going really well,” Wolfe said. “It’s been a real strain on the kinesiology group and the athletics and intramurals, but they’ve all worked very well with us in keeping everything rolling.”