Photo by James Gallagher for The Retriever
From the Commons loop on an abnormally warm winter’s afternoon, you can see the orange-vested workers take off their hard hats, grab their bags and exit the site of UMBC’s Retriever Event Center, colloquially known as the REC. While construction is still in-progress, students are getting excited for the completion of the new 172,000 square foot facility.
“I think the construction of an Event Center is a great idea; while the RAC is a great facility, I think the REC will be a lot more spacious and function better for events like Quadmania and basketball games,” said Thomas Mackenzie, a senior psychology major.
In fact, the purpose of the REC is exactly that, to host UMBC’s NCAA athletic games for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, according to UMBC’s Facilities Management. Other events that students can look forward to attending there include: commencement, concerts, featured speakers and banquets.
“I also heard that the student athletes’ equipment will be moved there, which could free up some space in the RAC for other students,” MacKenzie said.
While students have generally been saying good things about the center, construction is projected to finish around April of 2018. “I’ll be graduating in the fall, so I won’t have to travel downtown for commencement, but if the Events Center was finished sooner, I’d consider another semester here,” MacKenzie said.
Fortunately for commuters, construction has not and will not obstruct any A-permit lots, specifically Lot 27 near the soccer stadium. The only lot that will be affected and closed off is Lot 28 (sorry, D- and E- permit holders).
Despite many positive remarks pertaining to the REC, the project, with a total budget of $85 million, has faced some scrutiny from commuters. “I feel as though this money can be spent in other ways that would benefit a larger population on this campus,” one commuter student, who wished to remain unnamed, said.
“I personally don’t see anything wrong with the RAC in terms of athletics. I’d much rather see this money used on making a commuter’s life at UMBC easier. I think a new parking garage built in the same space would benefit more students than creating another athletics building,” the commuter continued.
“If you ask any commuter, or any student in general, what the worst part of UMBC is and he or she will say: parking.”
Parking troubles aside, if everything goes to plan, students will be able to enjoy the Retriever Event Center in early spring of 2018.