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Lamar University
Lamar University
News Release
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lamar will host ceremony and tours April 22 to mark grand opening of Umphrey Recreational Sports Center
BEAUMONT – The spacious Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center will soon be teeming with Lamar University students eager to enjoy the many recreational sports opportunities and amenities it has to offer. The Umphrey Center is the latest – and largest – quality-of-life enhancement on the Lamar University campus.
The center will open to students at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15. A week later, to mark this milestone, Lamar will host the grand opening of the Umphrey Center and the reopening of the remodeled McDonald Gym Sunday, April 22. Tours are scheduled from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., with a ceremony planned at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public.
“The Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center is not only a major facility for Lamar University, but also a signature facility for the region,” said President James Simmons.“This will make Lamar University a special destination for our students and will greatly enhance our ability to recruit and retain quality students.”
Financial support for the state-of-the-art Umphrey Center comes largely from an additional student fee assessed to all students enrolled at the university. Lamar University students voted for and passed a referendum in April 2004 approving the charge and the construction of the center. The facility will be available for use by faculty and staff of the university on a fee basis, and members of Lamar’s alumni association at the Century Club level and above will be eligible to purchase a membership beginning in fall 2007.
The 129,550-square-foot building is being named the Sheila Umphrey Recreational Sports Center in recognition of the largest gift in the university’s history. Sheila, and her husband, Walter, presented a $5 million gift to the university in December 2005.
The facility encompasses the landmark McDonald Gym, with spectator seating for volleyball and basketball games. The renovated areas and new construction will include 13,000 square feet of cardiovascular and free-weight training; a one-tenth-mile walking/jogging track; a 43-foot climbing wall; basketball, volleyball and badminton courts; racquetball, handball and squash courts; a wellness and fitness center; health food café and juice bar; lounge areas with pool tables; an outdoor putting green; and air hockey, foosball, video games and television.
Lamar joins a growing number of universities where students have financed similar quality of life facilities. The new recreational sports center will provide the university with exceptional facilities compared to those at other universities in Texas.
The Umphrey Center will address the needs and desires of the student body and become an integral component of the university community as a whole. The availability of quality of life facilities and programs such as aerobics, yoga, martial arts and dance are an important part of a holistic university experience. The new center will be a vital addition to LU campus life and a significant demonstration of the university’s commitment to its students.
The new recreational sports center will enhance the enjoyment of individual recreational activities, intramural sports, club sports, special events, wellness and other organized programs. In addition to these, the new center will provide several lounge areas for students to mix and mingle or hold organization and club meetings in a more leisurely environment. The center will also expand opportunities for on-campus student employment.

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