The RecCen is going to spend the summer beefing up for the next school year.

A contract has been awarded to Viola Construction Co. of Oxnard to handle the RecCen expansion project. The company’s bid of $11,876,000 was about $120,000 lower than the next lowest bidder, FedCon of Valencia. Construction will begin in July on the more than 56,000 square feet of additions, including a multipurpose activities court, a two-story cardio and weight room, equipment rooms, locker rooms, a climbing wall and a whirlpool. Workers have already begun digging holes for plumbing in preparation for the groundbreaking.

The new RecCen Multi-Purpose Activities Court is planned to be utilized flexibly for basketball and volleyball, or as a roller hockey rink complete with penalty boxes and team benches.

RecCen governance board chair Julie Cotto said the expansion should be open by September 2004 at the earliest, January 2005 at the latest. Construction time will vary depending on weather and availability of building supplies.

The RecCen expansion is being funded by the $44.70 per student, per quarter RecCen and RecCen Expansion fees, reaffirmed in this year’s Spring elections.

The expansion area is located to the north of the existing pool area, between the tennis courts and the north wall of the RecCen area.

Like the current RecCen, the addition will only be free to students and will not be used for university intercollegiate athletic competition or practices.

“Right now things are a little crowded in the existing RecCen, especially in the fitness center,” RecCen Director John Spaventa said. “I think this will give students a great opportunity to exercise without having to wait in lines or avoid the crowd.”