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Bye Bye Bubble

President Zulma R. Toro and Paul Huang celebrate the beginning of construction on a new recreation center at the Kaiser Annex. The building will be named after is Huang's father, the late Dr. Huang Chang-Jen. (Photo by Johnathon Henninger)

CCSU broke ground Oct. 26 on a new 61,000-square-foot recreation center that will replace the Kaiser Annex bubble.

The new two-story, steel-frame structure will be built on Kaiser Annex site and will connect to Kaiser Hall, the home of Blue Devil Athletics. Funded through the state’s CSUS 2020 infrastructure improvement program, the new building will replace the 34,000-square-foot, air-supported fabric structure constructed in 1991.
The recreation center will feature sport and multipurpose activity courts, an elevated wellness track, studio space, exercise and fitness areas, office and meeting rooms, and bathrooms with shower facilities. Construction should be complete in approximately 18 months.

Speaking at the ceremony, CCSU President Zulma R. Toro noted that the project has been a long time coming.
“By replacing the old bubble and upgrading the recreational facilities in a new structure, we are acting as prudent stewards of the state’s properties to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff as well as our neighbors have access to a state-of-the-art facility in which to exercise, relax, have fun, and enjoy each other’s company,” she said.

Pending approval by the Board of Regents, the building is expected to be named the Huang Recreation Center to honor the late Huang Chang-Jen, whose contributions to the university support student scholarships. Dr. Huang’s son, Paul, attended the ceremony.

Recalling a conversation with his father many years ago, Paul Huang said, “My father believed that, through the scholarships and endowments he established, he was helping to open doors to the world for young people — giving them the opportunity to explore and learn about themselves. His gift to CCSU carries on his belief — our family tradition — that helping others is the basis for our own happiness.”

Dr. Huang, born and raised in Hunan, China, died in 2012 after a long, successful life as an industrialist, humanitarian, and calligrapher.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; Pasquale Salemi, Department of Administrative Services deputy commissioner; and Peter Troiano, vice president of Student Affairs at CCSU.

Lawrence Brunoli, Inc., of Farmington is the project’s general contractor and Sasaki Associates, Inc. of Watertown, Mass., is the project architect.

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