Nicholls dedicates recreation center; opens Saturday

Nicholls State University administrators gathered Friday to dedicate the school’s new 60,000-square-foot Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center.



“This facility will change the culture of our campus the day it opens,” said Dr. Eugene Dial, vice president for student affairs. “The rec center will be the new go-to place for students to socialize as well as develop lifelong fitness and wellness skills.”

The center, located at the corner of Bowie Road and Ardoyne Drive is slated to open to students at noon on Saturday, Sept. 29.



The facility is one of the largest additions to campus in recent years and will feature a 6,000-square-foot weight room, three group fitness rooms, an elevated walking/running track, two sports courts, a racquetball court, a snack and juice bar and a wellness education classroom.



Students will also have 42 cardio machines with integrated TVs and iPod adaptors to make use of. The recreation center will also offer more than 25 fitness classes each week. The center will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 11 p.m. on Sundays.

Corey Callais, son of the center’s namesake, the late Harold Joseph Callais, was on hand for the event and said that his father, a longtime supporter of higher education, would have certainly liked the center’s indoor track.



“After my dad had open-heart surgery at 34 years old, he walked two miles a day, every day,” Callais said. “I wish he were here with us to walk the first two miles around the track.”



The elder Callais, a Golden Meadow native, was a successful entrepreneur, Board of Regents chairman and giving patron to Nicholls.

The new center is just one of the latest additions and updates to the campus, including new housing options and a renovated dining hall, and the university hopes the facility will give them a competitive edge in attracting high school students choosing a college.

The university began collecting self-assessed students fees for the $16 million facility in the spring of 2003, and alumni who graduated between spring 2003 and summer 2012 will automatically receive memberships on Saturday, Oct. 27.

These memberships will last for the amount of semesters that the student paid the self-assessed fee.

“This facility is an incredible gift from past students to current students,” said Michael Matherne, director of campus recreation. “When we open the doors on Sept. 29, the current generation of students will reap the benefits of the seeds students planted back in 2003.”

Memberships will also be offered to Nicholls’ employees, retirees, affiliates and members of the Nicholls Foundation, Nicholls Alumni Federation, Colonel Athletic Association, PRO-NSU and Nicholls Facilities Corporation at a later date.

Prices for the various memberships range from $25 to $50 month.

Nicholls State University administrators gather at the dedication for the new Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreational Center. The 60,000-square-foot recreational complex will open to students on Saturday, Sept. 29.

COURTESY PHOTO | MISTY LEIGH McELROY