John Arrillaga’60 made a surprise visit at the grand opening of the new Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (AOERC) on Nov. 1.
The 75,000-square-foot center, located just west of Roble Field on Santa Teresa Street, features a well-lit rock climbing room designed for rope climbing and bouldering, multipurpose fitness studios and a 50-meter swimming pool complete with a handicap ramp.
The project, which was originally slated for completion in January 2014, was mainly funded by the Arrillaga family and Avery family.
“This is for the students and the faculty and all the staff and all those that work at Stanford,” Arrillaga said during his grand opening speech. “We love doing it, and I hope to continue to do it.”
Ray Purpur, deputy athletic director, explained that compared to other gyms on campus, where varsity teams may book space for practices, the new center is geared towards campus recreation for students, staff and faculty.
According to Marion Avery, who together with Arrillaga cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony, meeting students’ need was a driving force behind the project.
“I like the fact that John [Arrillaga] said when he was planning this that, as far as the activities inside, he wanted to wait and see what the students wanted, and that was one big priority,” Avery said.
The 50-meter Avery Recreational Pool for instructional and recreational use – the only one on campus with a handicap ramp according to Purpur – is an example of how the new facility attends to student demand.
“The Avery Aquatic Center pool is so crowded all day long and into the evening,” Avery said. “This will be an opportunity for this west side of campus to have a place for both a gym and for swimming.”
Another such example is the rock climbing room.
Kevin Hopper, coordinator for indoor climbing events and facilities, said that he has extra staffers on hand for the climbing room for the first few weeks as he anticipates a big crowd.
“We have a large climbing community to begin with, but I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of energy around the new building,” Hopper said.
Ellie Redding ’16, who was a Stanford Pre-Orientation Trip (SPOT) leader this year and is still involved in the SPOT community, was impressed with the new climbing room.
“I love how much space there is, especially with the climbing wall,” Redding said. “After coming from the last one, it was nice but it was very cramped, and now we have tons of space. It’s a lot taller – everything is much more open.”
Beatrice Garrard ’16, who is also involved in SPOT and the general outdoor education community, said she was impressed with the center’s facilities.
“It’s wonderful to see more attention paid to the outdoor education program,” Garrard added.
Advertising for the grand opening was kept limited due to final touch-ups such as making sure all the ID scanning systems were in order, Purpur said.
“We wanted kind of a gradual grand opening but we think we will be busy soon,” he added.
While the center is now officially open to all, details such as setting up volleyball and badminton nets will happen over time depending on student demand, Purpur added.
Contact Ileana Najarro at inajarro ‘at’ stanford.edu.