Wednesday, March 21, 2007
A Run Through of Koret
We rush in with our ipod and Us weekly, battle through leg cramps and exhaustion for an hour or so, and then, we are off on our way. But next time you make the routine visit to the Koret Health and Recreation Center take note of the “sprinter,” an eight foot bronze statue situated outside in the front of Koret that was originally created on a smaller scale in celebration of the 1984 Olympic games. Take note of the futuristic design of Koret, who’s initially production cost was estimated at 10 million and later grew to 22 million. And lastly, take note of the Olympic pool that holds the distinction as the largest pool in northern California. For the University of San Francisco, the Koret Health and Recreation Center is a jewel of the campus that is constantly used yet rarely appreciated.
The need for a university sports center was established in the early 1970s, when a detailed survey revealed the lack of facilities available for community recreation. The Memorial and Loyola gymnasium and the limited outdoor fields were simply inadequate in meeting all the needs of the University community. Father Michael Kotlanger, S.J., who oversees the USF archives, adds that amongst these reasons, the university’s basketball team woes in the early 1980s also drove the need for a new health center as the board of trustees said to the university, ‘build us a new facility’ in exchange for supporting the team that was receiving such bad publicity. And so, the university and Pflueger Architects began designing.
Ground broke for the Koret center when Loyola Hall, formerly St. Ignatius High School, was demolished in 1987. “Construction was massive,” said Father Kotlanger. The construction was put on hold for 83 days when OSEA came in for inspection, which was one of the reasons for the price spike. Koret was able to go into production with many large contributions from San Francisco community members and corporate businesses. Joseph and Susan Koret, who the center is named after, were a part of the Koret of California, a successful sportswear line, that late evolved into the Koret Foundation that supports numerous projects around the city.
The Koret Health and Recreation Center was completed in September of 1989. “I feel pride and awe when I walk through Koret center. We have given USF the finest recreational center anywhere,” said Ricky J. Curotto, a board of trustees member, who commented in the Koret Campaign Chronicle's final issue, in September of 1989. Today, thousands of USF students and an estimated 15,000 non-student members enjoy all aspects of Koret. And if the pool, state of the art equipment, student lounge, numerous courts, etc… aren’t enough for you, at the very least you might have a celebrity sighting...Danny Glover has a current membership.