Alioto Recreation Center

Student Perspective: Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center

basketball courtsThe Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center opened to students on March 8th and has been a success from the start, welcoming 1,300 students on the first day.  The facility is getting rave reviews from students, according to Jane Camarillo, Vice Provost for Student Life.  “What is striking to them is the open feel and the natural lighting, and they love seeing into the double gyms to watch basketball,” remarked Dr. Camarillo, who related how the final design for the facility evolved.  “When I arrived on campus in 2007, there was a plan for a recreation center with the usual amenities, but the Trustees saw the importance of more of a campus center, a place for students to hang out, not just work out.  The social spaces in the plan were expanded, and today we have an outstanding facility where students can go at all hours of the day.  It’s a place to make connections.” Watch video >> bike

The Alioto Recreation Center is also a great opportunity for student leadership development, with thirty-five student leaders supervising in several areas, including scheduling, day-to-day operations, program assistance and marketing.  It also provides employment to 175 students, who staff and oversee the facility daily from 6:00 am to midnight.  Cameron Wiggins, a freshman kinesiology—health & human performance major from Sacramento, works 12-20 hours per week as a fitness assistant.  His professional goals are to be a youth coach and an athletic trainer.  “Working in the Alioto Recreation Center is giving me great experience,” said Cameron.  He does many jobs there to help with day-to-day operations, including maintaining the equipment and tracking the status, setting up for classes and events and making sure members are using the facility in a safe way.  He notes that the pool is the most popular spot at the center these days, as well as the gym for intramural and pick-up basketball and the gym for indoor soccer.  “The intramural games are very big right now,” observed Cameron.  “We are busy here until midnight.  This is the first social hub at Saint Mary’s.”

Chris Miller '16Hope Blain, a senior English major from Mission Viejo, comes to the Alioto Recreation Center to work out every morning before class and usually runs on the treadmill.  “The equipment is state-of-the-art.  You can download an app for your phone and track your performance every day,” she said.  Because of the new fitness opportunities, she has also changed her workout to include weightlifting, which she does three times a week.  “This facility is a total game changer for Saint Mary’s,” said Hope, who is also president of the Associated Students at Saint Mary’s.  “There was no social space before this.  The pool is beautiful and is a great spot to meet friends or do homework.  Saint Mary’s is now truly holistic—developing mind and body.”  On weekends, the center is crowded consistently all day, according to Hope, and students love the late hours.  “It is very crowded between 10 pm and midnight,” she noted.  She pointed out that the Jamba Juice stays open for food later than any other restaurant on campus.  She is also excited at the possibility of the senior class Senate hosting a pool party to bid farewell to Saint Mary’s.

Hope Blain '15Chris Miller is a junior from Orange County and is majoring in kinesiology—health & human performance.  He transferred here from community college because his grandfather, Dr. Mougo Nyaggah, who came to Saint Mary’s from Kenya, graduated from here in 1964 and told him it was a very special college experience.  Chris works 12 hours a week as a supervisor at the rock climbing wall, doing safety checks and belaying people (helping them climb safely by attaching to one end of their rope).  He has been rock climbing for two years and set the different climb routes (easy, intermediate, difficult) on the wall by placing the footholds.  He ran track for eight years in high school and community college, and his professional goals are to be a strength & conditioning coach for track & field athletes at the collegiate or professional level.  Working in the Alioto Recreation Center, he gets experience “dealing with people, learning to instruct people, and developing an eye for talent and innate ability,” said Chris. “I am learning when to push people, which is what coaching is all about.”   Cameron Wiggins '18As a student, he really appreciates the center because it provides a space to meet people, which he had not been able to do previously.  “In the fall, I would either be in class or in the library.  I didn’t usually stay on campus.”  Now he spends his time in the Alioto Recreation Center when he is not working. 

Jane Camarillo agrees that the new facility extends the day on campus for many students.  “Commuters tend to stay longer now.  The Alioto Recreation Center gives them a place to go between classes or a place to leave their belongings in a locker to go do other activities.  We are hopeful it will encourage them to take advantage of the many other wonderful offerings on campus,” noted Dr. Camarillo.

The Alioto Recreation Center is a fitness facility as well as the new home to Campus Recreation, which oversees aquatics, Outdoor Adventures, intramural sports and 12 club sports.  The facility includes a cardio area; a weights area; a rock climbing wall; a spin room with 25 bikes; a group exercise room; a double gym for basketball; a single gym for indoor soccer, volleyball, basketball and badminton; a Jamba Juice snack bar; and a pool and Jacuzzi.

Barbara Oseroff

Watch a video of the Alioto Recreation Center from the student perspective >>

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Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center: Now open!

arcThe wait is over!  The dedication and blessing of the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center, the 60,000 square foot new fitness facility and home to Campus Recreation, took place on March 12 to thank the many generous donors who contributed the funds for construction.  The facility was alive with activity—with students on the climbing wall, in the weight center, on fitness equipment and in the pool—as guests streamed into the double gymnasium for the ceremony.  The consensus of the 300 people in attendance was that the spectacular new center was worth the wait.

Mark Orr, director of Athletics and Recreational Sports, welcomed and thanked the many donors who were present, including lead donors Bernie Orsi '65, Mark Orsi, Lou Giraudo and Dan Giraudo of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, and Joseph Syufy '87, representing the Syufy family.  Also greeted were members of the Alioto family; officials from the town of Moraga, Contra Costa County, the Congressional District and the state Assembly; Project Manager Ron Tapper and Overaa Construction; members of the SMC Christian Brothers community; Saint Mary’s Trustees and Regents; school administrators, faculty and staff.  President James Donahue was introduced and talked about the impact of the Alioto Recreation Center on the College.  Joseph Syufy, President Donahue, Bernie Orsi and Mark Orr “What is special about Saint Mary’s is community, and this facility will play a large role in building community and broadening the student experience,” he said.  “Thank you to all of the donors, especially Bernie Orsi of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, the Syufy family and the Korth family, for your enormous generosity,” said President Donahue, who concluded by paraphrasing the quote by Plato which greets visitors to the Alioto Recreation Center:  “With education as well as physical activity, men and women can attain perfection.  Saint Mary’s is now a college for the whole person—mind, body and spirit.”

Reverend Mike Russo, along with Brother Dominic Berardelli and Associated Students President Hope Blain ’15, led prayers of blessing for the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center and the students who will use it.  Joined by the rest of Saint Mary’s Christian Brothers, they then visited different parts of the new facility to offer blessings and greet students.

Lou Giraudo, Mark Orsi, President Donahue, Bernie Orsi and Mark OrrBernie Orsi spoke next, commenting, “this is indeed a great day for the students of Saint Mary’s, who have needed this facility for a long time.”  He introduced the many Alioto family members who were present and reminisced about former San Francisco Mayor Joseph L. Alioto '37, for whom the recreation center is named.  Alioto attended Saint Mary’s in the 1930’s, serving as the student body president, editor of the yearbook and valedictorian, graduating magna cum laude.  “Joseph L. Alioto was a self-made man who worked hard to be prepared for the opportunities that arose,” said Bernie, who worked for Mayor Alioto at San Francisco City Hall and views him as a mentor.  “He was a man of integrity, committed to his faith and a champion of the underdog,” said Bernie.  “I am proud that this most distinguished alumnus will have his name on a building that will mean so much to the students of Saint Mary’s.”

The Alioto Family, Bernie Orsi and President DonahueJoseph M. Alioto '65, the son of the late Joseph L. Alioto, spoke of the pride his family felt for this honor.  “Our father and grandfather was an ambassador for Saint Mary’s College and always spoke so highly of his education,” said Joseph.  “My father learned humility from the Christian Brothers and always said that education is the one thing that can never be taken from you.”  Observing some of the other campus buildings, such as Galileo Hall, De La Salle Hall and Aquinas Hall, Joseph was pleased to note that “my father will be surrounded by great people.  Thank you for this great honor.”

Hope Blain '15, president of the Associated Students, then thanked the donors on behalf of the Saint Mary’s student body.  “I am so grateful to represent the students as we dedicate the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center.  There has been so much excitement about the opening because this facility will have such a positive impact on the student experience.  Whatever you are looking for, the Alioto Recreation Center has a place for you.  It will provide fitness, leadership and professional development opportunities for students, as well as that sense of community.  On behalf of all of our students, thank you to all of the donors.”

Blessing CeremonyThe dedication ended with a song written by Brother Martin Yribarren especially for the occasion, “Ode to the Rec Center,” which was sung by the Saint Mary’s faculty and staff choir, and was followed by tours of the Recreation Center and a festive gathering outside on the pool deck for all of the guests.

See photos from the Dedication >>

Barbara Oseroff

Dedication and Blessing | March 12, 2015
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Alioto Recreation Center: Almost Finished

Click to see more photos!There's a buzz on campus as the Rec Center takes shape.  The tile roof is on, the interiors are quickly being completed, and we are on schedule to open the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center in the spring of 2015.  There is excitement all over campus — among students, faculty and staff — as the entire Saint Mary’s community eagerly anticipates the opening of what will be “the hub of the campus.”  The Alioto Recreation Center will be available for use by the entire student body, as well as faculty and staff.  It includes a cutting-edge fitness center; three indoor courts; a functional strength training room; a group exercise room; a spin room; a juice and snack bar; a lap and recreational pool; a hydrotherapy spa; and an outdoor patio that connects to the Korth Tennis Complex and Cottrell Softball Field.

There is still time to be a supporter of this milestone facility at Saint Mary’s.  Here’s how:

Recreation Center Paver Program

The main entrance to the Alioto Recreation Center will be paved with tiles.  You can help support the building effort by purchasing one of these tiles, which will be engraved with your own message.  Leave a timeless legacy that celebrates your son’s or daughter’s graduation year, your own class year, your 25th reunion, or a birthday.  Parents of students who will be on campus when the Recreation Center opens can celebrate the health and wellness their son or daughter will experience while a student at Saint Mary’s.  See below for details.

Paver Sizes

8”x8” Tile - $500

4 lines of engraving, 12 characters per line

12”x12” Tile - $1,000

8 lines of engraving, 14 characters per line

16”x16” Tile - $2,500

12 lines of engraving, 24 characters per line

Purchase a paver now >>

For more information about the Paver Program, please call Mark Chiarucci at 925-631-4168, [email protected].

More Giving Opportunities

Through the generosity of our lead donors, the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, the Syufy Family, the Korth Family, and many others, we have raised $20.2 million of the $23.5 million project cost, but we must still raise $3.3 million.  Please join with us to transform the fitness, recreational and community-building opportunities for all students at Saint Mary’s.  Contact Mark Chiarucci at 925-631-4168 or [email protected].

Follow @AliotoRecCenter on Twitter for all the latest >>

See more Alioto Recreation Center photos >>

Watch the video >>

See the video!
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Alioto Recreation Center: Making Progress

The Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center is going up quickly.  This new facility will be a state-of-the-art center for the entire student body and Saint Mary’s community, a place for physical fitness as well as a home for all recreational sports.  As you can see from the video, the structural steel framing is complete and the exterior walls are underway, and the Center will be completed in the spring of 2015.
The Alioto Recreation Center will include a cutting-edge fitness center with weight and cardio areas; three indoor courts for basketball, soccer and volleyball; group fitness rooms for classes in yoga, dance and spinning; a climbing wall; a juice and snack bar; and a pool, lawn and outdoor patio.  “This will not just be a rec center,” said one Saint Mary’s student.  “It will be the hub of the campus, a place where we can share all that we love about this school.”
The Center will be a stellar facility that will support the whole student in health, community, and social engagement—the dynamic student center that has been missing from campus.  The budget for the Alioto Recreation Center is $23.5 million.  The lead gift came from the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, and we have raised nearly $20 million so far with $3.5 million still to go.  To leave an enduring legacy while supporting student health, wellness and intramural activities at Saint Mary’s, consider purchasing a personalized stone paver that will go in the Recreation Center Plaza. 

For more information about pavers and other giving opportunities, please contact Mark Chiarucci in Development at 925-631-4168 or [email protected].

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Contra Costa Times Profiles SMC's Plans for New Rec Center

The Contra Costa Times reported on the College's ongoing development efforts on Saint Mary's planned $30 million Athletic and Recreation Corridor. The story "Saint Mary’s works to get ball rolling on sports facility," which includes a photo of Rev. Salvatore J.