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.


Christina Kho said...

i've never noticed the 8ft bronze statue. i agree that our gym like the church is a jewel of our campus. how did you find out about danny glover? did you ask someone there? i wonder if there's a way we can find out who has membership, if there's a list somewhere they can let us access. Anyway it would have been cool to hear about the 3 or 4 stories of the building and what they have in each floor. To me the gym is massive! It's also a lot like the Winchester Mystery House in which there are so many hidden rooms and doors that lead to other place. Would be cool to know exactly how many rooms there are and what they're used for. Also, do all students know that the gym offers massages? thats a cool thing to know! good job on your blog!

Carly Perez said...

I asked the manager of Koret about celebrities with current gym memberships and Danny Glover was the only one he mentioned. I don't know how interesting it would be to look further into a gym membership list because I'm sure its just a mix of regular people, just like us. It would have been interesting to talk about each floor, but usually all gyms are similar in what they offer (except for the unusual like an olympic size pool at usf-which is why i mentioned it). Instead I wanted to focus my blog on a quick run through of the history and production of Koret. Nice comparison with the Winchester Mystery House.