El Pomar rendering

Artist rendering of the new Fitness Center seen from Washburn Field.

El Pomar rendering

Artist rendering of the new gateway into El Pomar. Construction on the gateway began this October.

Two distinctive CC student traits are a love of the outdoors and the desire to be involved in sports of all kinds. Just walk across campus on a sunny day and you will see many of the following: parked cars with bicycle and ski racks; skateboarders and bicyclists zipping across campus; students lugging hockey and lacrosse sticks; swimmers leaving Schlessman Pool with slicked back hair; students carrying yoga mats; runners on Monument Creek path; a group of dorm residents playing a game of pick-up soccer on the quad; dancers walking to Cossitt Hall for practice; and students sweating out their routines in the weight room. CC’s culture is one that fully embraces physical pursuits.

El Pomar rendering

Artist rendering of the new cardio room.

“Honor the life of the mind” is a core CC value, and keeping one’s body fit complements this commitment. Forty-one years ago, the college opened El Pomar Sports Center to ensure that students had the best facilities available at the time, and it was a major addition to the campus. However, student demand has increased substantially during the past four decades, and the building cannot meet the surge in need. The time therefore has come to make another significant investment – by renovating El Pomar Center’s existing space and by expanding it to include modern fitness facilities.

Spearheading the project, El Pomar Foundation made a lead gift of $8.5 million, which will preserve and update its legacy building.

El Pomar rendering

Artist rendering of the new varsity weight room.

Construction began on October 25 to create 11,000 square feet of new space that will serve as the “gateway” on the building’s southwest end and add additional meeting and office spaces.  Doing so will free up much-needed interior space for various athletic activities.

Then, new construction on El Pomar Center’s north end will add another 29,000 square feet.

Some of the additions include:

  • a cardio conditioning room and separate strength area
  • separate varsity training areas
  • a full-sized basketball/volleyball court
  • a yoga studio
  • squash courts
  • an auxiliary gym
  • expanded physical therapy space
  • indoor and outdoor lounge spaces for students, faculty, and staff to socialize
  • separate locker rooms for students, faculty, and staff

Such a wide variety of resources ensures that the building will serve as the space on campus for unstructured student/faculty/staff interactions. According to Colorado College Director of Athletics Ken Ralph, the new and renovated spaces will be a tremendous benefit to students. “More than 75 percent of the space will be dedicated to flexible student uses,” he said, “and with the Block Plan’s intensity, it is important that we provide healthy options for our students to reduce their stress. El Pomar Center will offer more opportunities for campus community interactions than any other space on campus, and hopefully will ultimately lessen the number of Boettcher Health Center visits.”

To date, the college has raised $13 million in gift commitments for the project (with some designated for specific rooms or facilities), plus an allocation of $7 million from internal sources to address infrastructure issues. Fundraising continues for the project’s remaining $7 million. We currently anticipate that the project will be finished in the spring of 2013.

For details on the current plans for the new facility, go to: www2.coloradocollege.edu/vision/healthfitness.php