By Jeffrey Waitkevich
The university is set to unveil The Edge, a remodeled recreation space, to students in a soft opening at 5 p.m. Monday.
Al Gentilini, associate director of Campus Recreation, hopes to give students a chance to check out what the recreational space will look like while also building anticipation for the finalized space two weeks from now.
Once fully functional, The Edge will be open 6 p.m – 11 p.m. seven days a week. Non-operational hours will be used for campus organizations to host events.
Backed by Student Government and Campus Recreation, the construction began in the spring semester. Like its predecessor The Coquina Club, it will be a place for leisure and fun.
Coquina Club, which was previously a campus late-night haven, had been vacant since spring 2014. In 2016, USF St. Petersburg graphic design students tried to liven it up with a mural on the interior’s south wall.
Student body president David Thompson added to those sentiments.
“Our campus, for a long time, has truly lacked a comprehensive space for students to get together and have fun,” Thompson said. “This new space will allow students to utilize gaming tables, video games, performances and many other things.”
Student Government’s involvement was crucial to getting the old Coquina Club renovated. Beyond funding the project, both organizations served as the students’ voice through the planning process.
“(Student Government) saw a space not being utilized and said ‘we can do something with this,’ Gentilini said.
Thompson has been involved with the project since it began. Prior to being elected student body president, he was a member of the committee that pushed for The Edge.
The Campus Recreation hub will be housed in the space. Eventually, Gentilini would like to move the fitness center, which is currently house in the Student Life Center, into The Edge. This would allow for all parts of Campus Recreation, including the swimming pool and boathouse, to be in a centralized location to increase student traffic to the organization.
For incoming students, there will be a room in The Edge dedicated to tours and orientation from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentilini added that at least 68 percent of prospective students are influenced, at least in part, by a school’s recreation facilities.
“It’s going to be their first look,” said Gentilini. “And it’s going to be very nice to get that buy-in and school pride from the start.”
Header photo courtesy of University of South Florida St. Petersburg