Special to the E-T Tarleton State University recently opened its new 73,000-square-foot recreational sports center. As painters put the finishing touches on the building, students filed in, anxious to be among the first to use the center's amenities.

The two-story center includes classrooms and office spaces, three gym floors, a climbing wall, racquetball courts and men's and women's lockers - complete with lighted vanities and hairdryers. Another feature of the recreational center is the “outdoor pursuit” area, which allows students the opportunity to sign up for outdoor items such as kayaks, tents and camping equipment.

“When I came in this morning people were already playing basketball and racquetball and lifting weights,” said Robert Nimmo, associate director of recreational sports. “Things are really taking off.”

The center was originally scheduled to open in September, but heavy rainfall throughout the summer delayed construction.

Tarleton students pay for the use of the center during class registration and will be admitted with the presentation of a valid Texan I.D. card. Faculty and staff can use the facility upon payment of a $100 membership fee per semester. At this time, memberships for those outside of Tarleton are not available.

The sports center is located on Rome Street, adjacent to the Memorial Football Stadium.