Here's a look at San Jose State's $130M recreation and aquatic center

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It has been a long wait -- about four and a half years -- for a dream sports facility to open on the San Jose State campus. The Spartan Recreation & Aquatic Center was officially opened Thursday, although students will have to wait until Monday to start using it.

The crowd outside reflected the excitement among students to see their new recreation and aquatic center. Once the band played and the ribbon was cut, it was time to check out this new $130 million facility.

We heard a lot of "wow's" as students got their first look. Inside, there's the equivalent of just over two football fields of cardio equipment and weights, three full-court gyms for basketball, volleyball and badminton. Exercise studios. A one-eighth mile track. And a rock wall.

Outside, there are two pools, including a 50-meter lap pool with chairs to provide access to those with disabilities.

PHOTOS: Inside SJSU's new recreation and aquatic center

Students started paying for it 13 years ago with a special fee. They also helped to design it.

"First we did a survey to 30,000 students. We had about a 13 percent return where students told us what they wanted," said Catherine Busalacchi, executive director of the San Jose Student Union and the new recreation/aquatic facility. "Then we had focus groups that we asked, based on the survey, is this what you wanted? And then again, we visited various recreational facilities across the country."

While the facilities are clearly a draw, so were the hot dogs they were serving the students for free, not to mention Spartan blue and gold beach towels, which were given to the 4,000 visitors.

It's projected that nearly three-fourths of San Jose State's 35,000 students will use the facility. They get priority. Faculty, staff and the public can pay a fee to get access. The community rate is $90 per month.

What strikes everyone is how it compares to upscale private fitness clubs.

"Me and my fellow classmates already are making plans to come out here, shoot some hoops on the basketball court, even doing a pool day some time next week," said Melody Delrio, a San Jose State junior.

There is also space set aside for people to study or to socialize.

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