By Maggie Weiss
St. Kate’s has recently been experiencing many renovation projects, the most recent of these being the Dew Drop Restoration project earlier this year. Just this summer, however, St. Kate’s began another renovation project on another campus landmark, one that many of us use every single day.
The Butler Center, which is located by the Coeur de Catherine, is currently undergoing an addition that has been in progress since the end of the previous school year. The summer began with a few test demolitions, permit approvals and soil tests before the official ground breaking. Since then, the actual building has begun to take shape, complete with red brick walls and windows similar to the windows currently in the original Butler Center building. The addition to the building adds length to the Wildcat Training Center and the cardio and gym portion of the building, as well as new classrooms and office spaces that will be used to better service the university in the coming years.
“The new construction pieces are a three-story addition to Butler Center north of the pool, a single-story training center addition north of the gym, and an elevator for Fontbonne,” said Jim Manship of the St. Kate’s Facilities Department. “Each is in a different stage of completion but all are on schedule.”
Another building that is part of the renovation is Fontbonne Hall, which has been part of the Butler Center programming. Fontbonne Hall has, until recently, been home to a gym and a dance studio that were used for dance classes, self-defense seminars, and the popular Fit 4 Life classes that St. Kate’s students have enjoyed for the last few years. With the ongoing construction, these rooms are no longer available for student use. Fit 4 Life classes have been moved to the main gym the in Butler Center, and due to the change in the Exercise program on campus, the choices in Fit 4 Life classes have been reduced. The Fit 4 Life classes offered this semester are Yoga on Monday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Friday mornings from 6:15 to 7:15 a.m., Yoga Sculpt on Tuesday afternoons from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., and Zumba on limited Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
“I think expanding is a good thing,” said Kate Dockendoorf, ’14. “The cardio area often gets full between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. I also think it is good that they are getting a new dance studio because the old one was hardly big enough for the Zumba classes.”
The Butler Center renovations for the existing building have been mostly completed; new carpet has been installed in the lobby outside the gym and cardio center, and there is a new permanent concession stand set up outside for events. There is also a new staircase going up to the second floor in place of the existing one and a conference room on the second floor across from the gym and concession stand. On the first floor, the front desk to the Butler Center has been moved closer to the front doors, and there is new tiling on the floors with the walls painted to match them. Fontbonne Hall is getting an elevator, and the old gym space has been refurbished for student use and is only accessible through Fontbonne Hall.
“The Fontbonne gym has been replaced with five classrooms, two restrooms and some nice circulation space including a student lounge and study area,” Manship said. “The Butler remodeling finds us with improved traffic flow and some new offices, lounge/gathering space and concessions upstairs. In the new construction, Butler Center will have new varsity locker rooms, team meeting rooms, a new large cardio space and a dance studio. The activity center will have indoor space for some softball, track and field, tennis, volleyball and more.”
There are still a few places that haven’t been affected by the renovation, including the gym and cardio center. For more information on the construction, including updates on projects, visit the Butler Center website at www.stkatesathletics.com.
The Butler Center is maintaining its normal operating hours during the week and is available to the St. Kate’s community from 6:00 am to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Maggie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .