College Sports

Take a tour of WCC’s new Pavilion and Student Recreation Center

Junyi Qiu lifts weights in the new Student Recreation Center on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Whatcom Community College.
Junyi Qiu lifts weights in the new Student Recreation Center on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Whatcom Community College. The Bellingham Herald

Fitness Center

Definitely the highlight of the entire project, the fitness center portion of the new Whatcom Pavilion is the area most anticipated by most WCC students. No longer will the entire WCC community need to cram into a 600-square-foot workout room or go elsewhere to get in their weight training and cardio work with the opening of a new 5,000-square-foot facility.

The spacious area has all the weight and cardio equipment of just about any gym in town, and most of the apparatus are just out of the box. With all the space, it’s inviting for students to work out alongside student athletes, faculty and staff, something many at the school hope will build a sense of community on the campus.

Windows and skylights provide plenty of natural light, while a rubberized floor makes sure even dropped free weights won’t do any damage.

Susan Zoccola’s “Cascade,” a suspended sculpture creating a river of copper and acrylic spheres, hangs from the ceiling two stories above. It appears to be a giant wave that adds to the idea of movement and activity to help draw more in the WCC community inside. Like most other decisions in the project, students were instrumental in selecting the artist.


“Before we had (600) square feet to work out in, and in that (600) square feet, we could fit half the team. We had to split up into two or three groups in order to use the whole facility and have an impact on the team. Now we can work out as a team and build that team bond. We’re really looking forward to being able to do that.” — WCC men’s basketball coach and student recreation center coordinator David Dunham



Approximate size in square feet of the new fitness center, nearly nine times what existed before.


Weightlifting and cardio machines included as part of the project, as well as a large assortment of free weights.

A student uses the indoor track on the second floor of the new WCC Pavilion and Student Recreation Center. Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald

Indoor track

Another highlight of the entire project and part of the fitness center, the indoor track features three lanes on a rubberized running or walking surface. Total distance around the oval is approximately 440 feet, and being on the second floor helps create a spacious feel to the entire center.

Floor-to-ceiling windows encompass the outside of more than half the track, providing terrific views of the WCC campus for runners and walkers and an inviting sense of movement to those walking by outside, Stan Jaworoski, a senior associate/project architect/project manager for SRG Partnership said.

A pair of mezzanines sit at either end of the running surface, one providing space for more cardio equipment and the other a spot for stretching and calisthenics. A couple of the cardio machines are Expresso bikes, which allow riders to train with or compete against riders using similar machines around the world via the internet.


“I’m getting excited, because it’s getting colder now, and I can’t always run outside. I just need to use the indoor running track, and it has the view from the second floor.” — ASWCC president Aldo Suseno



Approximate distance in feet around the new indoor track.


Laps around the indoor track equals approximately a mile.

A new dance and workout studio on the second floor of the Pavilion and Student Recreation center provides a number of options for WCC. Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald

Studio rooms

A pair of new studios gives WCC plenty of room for physical education and other classes and gives the school opportunities to rent out for community events.

The downstairs studio, located right next to the fitness center’s day-use lockers, has a rubberized surface, providing a perfect environment for yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba, WCC senior director for facilities and operations Brian Keeley said. Western Washington will utilize the space as a team room when it rents the facility while Sam Carver Gymnasium undergoes its own renovation.

The large upstairs studio, inside the track at the northern end, features dance-quality wood and mirrors and is intended to be used for dance, Zumba and other technical classes where students need to be able to see themselves. It has a sound system, and audio-video equipment make it a perfect classroom.


“Before, there just wasn’t a whole lot room to do other things in this building. With all of the new space we have created, there are so many opportunities for P.E. and other classes to be held here and for us to host community events.” — Keeley



Combined size in square feet of the two new studio rooms in Whatcom Pavilion. The upstairs studio is 2,456 square feet.


People who can be seated in the upstairs large studio room for community events.

WCC hopes the Pavilion and Student Recreation Center will become the center for campus life with its social areas inside and outside. Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald

Social area

The Pavilion was built to be much more than just a fitness center. Students and faculty wanted to make sure plans included areas that would create a community feel and be a center for the entire WCC campus.

There a gathering area just outside the inviting main entrance to the building, and LED lighting makes the building stand out at night as much as it does at day.

Inside, there are comfortable seating areas surrounding the fitness center, which is sunk down a couple of feet. A great place to study or converse with friends also will soon have a juice bar and video screens updating everyone of what’s going on around campus.


“We designed the pit — the actual fitness area — to be lower. It was kind of a concept we stole from Pierce College down in Fort Steilacoom. ... We just felt like it provided some nice separation from that activity and the social spaces in the building. You can be doing two opposite things and not feel funny in this space, but it’s still very open, and you can see all the activity.” — Keeley



WCC students annually seeking credit. It’s hoped that the new Whatcom Pavilion and Recreation Center will help build a stronger sense of community for them.


Spheres suspended from the ceiling of the fitness center/social area as part of Susan Zoccola’s sculpture “Cascade.”

Jaskeert Singh shoots baskets while waiting for a friend in the new Whatcom Community College Pavilion and Student Recreation Center. Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald


What used to be the centerpiece of the Whatcom Pavilion, now has a beautiful new front lobby with the addition of the fitness center. Most of the work to the gym, itself, was cosmetic.

The floor was stripped down to bare wood and given new graphics and a fresh finish, and the gym was given a fresh coat of paint and new padding along the baselines.

The biggest addition was storage space for athletic equipment, as a large storage area runs the length of the wall on the east side of the gym — a big upgrade from the one closet the entire department previously had to share. A new concession area, new public restrooms and a new trophy case also create a nice gathering area just outside the gym.


“It’s our new home in our home. It’s nice to be home, finally. This has added a lot of extra motivation. They want to come out and represent strong. ... They take real ownership in it, and they don’t take any part of it for granted. ... What they have done is beautiful — better than I could have even imagined.” — WCC volleyball coach Angie Short



Capacity of the Whatcom Pavilion gym, same as before the renovation.


Basketball games scheduled to be played in Whatcom Pavilion during the 2015-16 season. The Western Washington University men’s and women’s teams will rent the gym for 29 “home” games.

New custom wood lockers for use by varsity WCC athletes are part of the improved varsity area in the Pavilion and Student Recreation Center. Evan Abell The Bellingham Herald

Varsity area

The focus of the overall project was on areas that the entire student body will get to utilize, but the varsity sports areas of the Pavilion also received some impressive upgrades. Much of the back end of the building was gutted and reprogrammed, and those areas that weren’t received some nice cosmetic improvements.

The men’s and women’s varsity locker rooms were one of the areas that received some sprucing up, with new all-wood lockers and a new bathroom and shower area. By gutting and re-framing areas just outside the lockerrooms, the teams got a new team room, complete with an interactive Mondopad to help the teams break down video.

Also new is a training room, complete with a hydrotherapy tub.


“This building is great to have. It’s striking on the inside, but if you just walk around the outside ... it’s pretty amazing, as well. And then just walking around the campus, from a recruiting standpoint, this is just like the icing on the cake.” — Dunham



Approximate size in square feet that the back end of Whatcom Pavilion grew after the area was gutted and re-framed and with some small additions, according to Keeley.


Number of locker rooms in the upgraded Pavilion — two varsity locker rooms that only WCC teams will use, two staff and faculty locker rooms and two day-use locker rooms.

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