Students will soon have another way to kick back and relax after a hard day of studying, as construction on a new spa at the UCSB Rec Cen is slated to begin later this month and be finished by Winter Quarter.

Project Manager Karl Burrelsman said spa construction will begin as soon as local weather improves. Money for the $244,000 spa comes from the $60 per quarter students pay in Rec Cen fees, which also funded the recently constructed rock climbing wall and Rec Cen II fitness center, said Facilities Manager Blair Hoover.

“Construction is starting sometime this month,” Burrelsman said. “The temporary fence is already up. We haven’t started digging yet because of the weather.”

Hoover said the university commissioned Leon Construction to build the new spa after the company offered the best bid. Hoover said he estimates that construction will take between 90 to 120 days to finish. The spa is tentatively scheduled to open in February 2006, he said.

Hoover said the Rec Cen management is currently trying to cut back on energy use in order to pay for the upkeep of the spa.

“Instead of having all of the lights on, we’re trying to cut back to reduce energy bills,” Hoover said. “All of our electricity costs come out of the same budget as the rest of the Rec Cen.” The projected 170-square-foot spa will contain a large Jacuzzi tub and will help students wind down, Hoover said.

“The Jacuzzi will be a therapeutic addition to the Rec Cen,” Hoover said. “The spa can be used for warm-ups and cool-downs for anyone who engages in physical activity.”

A major filtration system will keep the spa’s Jacuzzi sanitized, Hoover said.

“The Jacuzzi tub will be filtrated a lot like a pool,” Hoover said. “Instead of containing spill-overs like a regular Jacuzzi tub, the water constantly filtrates. It’s engineered for heavy use so it’s always clean.”

Desiree McEntee, an undeclared first-year student, said she looks forward to the Rec Cen’s new addition.

“I think that the spa will be beneficial to athletes because there won’t be so many injuries with an area designated to warm-ups and cool-downs,” McEntee said. “I think it will definitely be put to good use.”