What used to be a dairy farm will soon become the site for the new campus recreation center.

University administrators, campus leaders and other supporters gathered Thursday at the corner of Wahnish Way and Osecola Street for the groundbreaking ceremony.

Construction of the two-phase project will begin in October. Robert D. Carroll Jr., the director of the campus recreation and intramural sports, said this new recreation center will be an asset to the University.

“This is a red banner day,” Carroll said. “It has been a dream for many generations of FAMU students.”

“Dr. (Fred) Gainous endeavored for this University to be a ‘One FAMU’, and this will be a building for the future,” he said.

Phase one of the project will include a 39, 000 square-foot recreation facility, which will house intramural and recreational sports, fitness and nutrition offices as well as prvide adequate space for a complete intramural and recreation program. The building will also include meeting rooms and adequate space for a variety of recreational activities.

The first phase will contain fitness training areas for free-weights, cardiovascular machines, aerobic/martial arts/dance studios, a raised jogging track, sauna, whirlpool, locker rooms, climbing wall, outdoor adventure programming area, and space for support services, such as equipment check-out, health bar, pro-shop and lounge.

“As an African-American female who has dedicated her professional and personal life to the health and fitness industry, I am very passionate about this subject,” said Rose May Delva, adjunct professor in the health and physical education department.

“Given the severity of the health disparity and issues facing the African-American community, I am very pleased about the proactive investment in the future health of the FAMU community,” said the Miami native who has been teaching at FAMU since the spring of 2003.

FAMU students are looking forward to the completion of this new recreation center. Student Government Association President Virgil Miller and SGA Vice President Keneshia Grant were both at the ceremony to represent the student body.

“This is an idea that has been brewing in the minds of past SGA presidents, senators and other campus leaders,” Miller said.

“If anybody else can have it, then FAMU should have it, and if anyone else needs it, it is the students here at FAMU,” he added.

The second phase of the project will include court space for basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, racquetball and a pool area. The project is budgeted to cost approximately $6.83 million.

“If nobody knocks, then no one will answer the door,” Gainous said. “Students and alumni have knocked, and there is an absolute need for this recreation center and an absolute demand for it by the students.”

Completion of the first phase of the recreation center is planned for the fall of 2005.

Contact Tyre Sperling at