Hopkins plans campus rec center

URBAN LANDSCAPE

Homewood: The university will break ground this spring on a $14.6 million student recreation center that officials say will keep the university competitive.

February 03, 2000|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

IN AN EFFORT to remain competitive with other colleges and universities, the Johns Hopkins University plans to begin construction this spring on a $14.6 million student recreation center on its Homewood campus.

Members of the university's Buildings and Grounds Committee recently approved a concept design for a three-story, 62,000-square-foot structure that would be added to Hopkins' White Athletic Center.

Houston-based investment executive Ralph S. O'Connor, a 1951 biology graduate of Hopkins and university trustee from 1969 to 1975, has pledged $2.775 million toward construction of the center for Hopkins students and members of its faculty and staff. Other funds will come from the Johns Hopkins Initiative, a campaign that has raised more than $1.3 billion in gifts and pledges since 1994.

"To keep competitive, a school needs to have what the students want," O'Connor said. "Not everyone can play varsity sports, and this facility will provide superb space for intramural and informal competitions. Such activities make better students and better people."

Designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., the building will contain a gymnasium with basketball courts and a perimeter jogging track; racquetball courts; a rock-climbing wall; a weight room; and areas for fitness training and aerobics.

When complete in the fall of next year, it also will include administrative offices, a classroom and a multipurpose room. Construction will coincide with the partial renovation of the existing athletic center's basement, including new men's and women's locker rooms.

O'Connor also pledged $225,000 to be added to the endowment of the Ralph S. O'Connor Scholarship, which he established in 1993 to assist undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. That brings his total pledge to $3 million.

The gift "will help bring the best students to Homewood and help provide them with a much-needed new recreation center," said Hopkins President William R. Brody.

Fund-raiser to benefit victims of January fire

A fund-raiser for artists and others displaced by a fire on Baltimore Street will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesday at Shamrock Pub, 102 Water St. in downtown Baltimore.

Admission is $5, and all money raised will benefit former occupants of 423 W. Baltimore St., a cast-iron-fronted building that was damaged by a multialarm fire Jan. 19. Information: 410-962-8941.

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