Contact: Robert Bobo at 214/768-7650

February 16, 2004


DALLAS (SMU) – Studies show first-year students who use campus recreation centers earn higher first semester GPAs, higher first year cumulative GPAs, and accumulate more credit hours than their counterparts who don’t use recreation centers.

Following a national trend, a new, state-of-the-art student recreation center at SMU begins its first phase of construction with a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the renovation and expansion of the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports on February 19, 2004 at 11 a.m.

The expansion includes a five-lane recreational pool, three-story rock climbing wall, jogging/walking track, racquetball courts, basketball courts, aerobics area, weight room and juice bar. The new facility will enable the university to have an outdoor recreation program, a growing interest at colleges and universities nationwide, that will enable students to borrow equipment for activities such as camping and rock climbing.

“ This facility will benefit the lives of our students in many ways and, obviously, we are excited,” said S. Thomas Kincaid, student body president. “More than anything, this project is about enhancing our community at SMU. Fitness centers are places where diversity occurs naturally.”

" This facility will support our goal of providing a well-rounded campus experience for our students," says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "In the past few years we have added several new academic buildings. Now, with the expanded and renovated Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, we will have a state-of-the-art facility for fitness and recreation. Because such facilities are becoming more important to college students, SMU will remain competitive in student recruitment."

The total cost for the expansion and renovation is $25 million. The expansion will be built on the south side of the Dedman Center and will increase the usable square footage of the center from 50,000 to 165,000 feet. The original Dedman Center was constructed in 1976 at a cost of $3.5 million.

“ This expansion and renovation demonstrates how SMU continues to develop programs and facilities that increase the quality of life for our students,” said Jim Caswell, vice president for student affairs.
Students proposed an extra increase in tuition to partially fund the renovation and expansion. At the student’s request, SMU’s Board of Trustees has added a 1.5 percent increase on top of regular increases to tuition and fees for the center’s renovation and expansion since Fall 2003. As a result of their additional contributions, students have been intricately involved in the project’s design. Donor contributions are being sought for enhancements such as additional equipment.

“ This project will greatly improve the level of services we provide for our students,” said Judith Banes, SMU director of recreational sports and spirit. “I am particularly excited about the new programs we will be able to offer students.”