Racquetball

Rec will open the bouldering wall by early November – The Oracle

The recreation and wellness center’s 2018 plans to incorporate a rock climbing wall into the facility are coming to fruition four years later. ORACLE PHOTO/MICHEL MARDONES

After years of delays, construction of a 30-foot bouldering center on campus is underway at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

It should be completed by early November or no later than the spring semester, according to Director of Recreation and Wellness Jay Souza.

The bouldering wall, which will replace one of the force’s ground-parallel racquetball courts, would cost more than $150,000, according to Souza.

In 2018, Souza said he met with the student government to discuss building the climbing wall. However, as the plans progressed, they realized that building a wall of this size would require extreme risk management safeguards, including insurers, i.e. tell the person controlling the rope of a person climbing.

As a result, costs have been higher than expected, according to Souza. With budgeting at the time, SG said it was best to wait for a more timely term before moving forward.

This resulted in the decision to build a bouldering center instead, as it is a more affordable alternative.

Bouldering differs from rock climbing in that bouldering does not require anyone to be present to assist. However, when climbing a wall, a rope, protective gear and assistance are required.

A bouldering wall is no more than 12 feet high and has padding along the floor while rock climbing walls average 30 feet. Boulder walls focus more on practicing skills and rock climbing walls are for people who already know how to climb.

“We’re going to be open to anyone who wants to use it. Obviously we’re going to post some rules there, like you can’t use certain shoes on the wall because you don’t want to damage the surface,” Souza said. “We’re also going to have a seating area there, so a lot of people can watch. Generally, I find the block to be a social setting.

Souza said the money for this project came from the temporary closure of the Rec due to COVID-19. As there was no need to pay student staff, there was money left over from this exercise which SG authorized to be used for this project.

When the idea of ​​a climbing wall was first announced, students seemed to have mixed opinions about it, according to a 2018 Oracle article. Some students felt that the money could be used for other issues on campus, such as parking situation or student organizations.

Now that it is running, some students were receptive to the decision to build the block wall.

First-year student mechanical engineering major Kevin Duignan said he thought a bouldering wall would be a good addition to the gymnasium. As someone who attends several different gyms, he said it was something that would really make the facilities at the university stand out.

“I don’t see too many gyms with rock climbing walls,” he said. “So it’s a really nice feature to have. Plus it helps with grip strength and back muscles.

While rock climbing isn’t for her, integrated biology major Elizabeth Voronina said she sees how fun it could be for those who enjoy it.

“I feel like it might be fun for some people, not particularly me,” she said. “I don’t find myself coming here to climb. But some people like it, especially if they don’t like lifting weights and want to exercise.

Overall, Souza said opening the bouldering center for students will expand the opportunities they have to enjoy the Rec.

“This will open up an opportunity for students who may not have participated in the activities offered before,” he said. “[They] may want to try and then they can be exposed to other things we have to offer. »