Penn State

Penn State makes plans for public access to Rec Hall

Access changes to Penn State’s Rec Hall have had some racquetball and squash players up in arms but a new decision is aimed at alleviating the problem.

Last month, frequent users of the only racquetball and squash facilities in the county were getting concerned as security equipment was being put in place and rumors were flying about access being restricted.

The university volleyed back its response Thursday, proposing new plans for three frequently used buildings that will go into effect after spring break.

“Beginning March 13, Campus Recreation, a unit of Student Affairs, will staff desks at the entrances to Rec Hall. They will begin staffing desks at the entrances to the White Building and (McCoy) Natatorium on May 8,” the university release said. “Visitors to Rec Hall, the Natatorium and White Building will not experience any major changes, but students, faculty and staff should be prepared to show their Penn State ID card upon entering the buildings.”

Plans to increase security and monitor access have been on the books for a year, part of $7.5 million in improvements for the three buildings.

Rec Hall, the 89-year-old home of Penn State wrestling and volleyball teams, is a mixed-use facility. While it is frequently identified as a sports venue, a large portion of its use is as a campus asset for students and others, a function that is orchestrated under Student Affairs.

“Community members will still have access to these buildings, but non-Penn State users will need to stop at the registration desk to provide some basic information to the staff, including their name and contact information. Campus Recreation staff will issue a temporary access card at no cost for non-Penn State users,” the university said.

One change involves users younger than 18. Minors will no longer have unattended access to the building unless they are students or taking part in a recognized activity put on at facilities, such as a sports camp or a class.

“These changes are part of a larger initiative to take a holistic look at our campus recreation facilities and memberships to ensure we are offering the best recreational experience to our students,” said Josh Davis, assistant director of Campus Recreation for Membership Services and Outreach. “In the future, we hope to adopt a community membership arrangement, which has been standard practice at many of our peer institutions, so that we may continue to serve the State College community.”

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce