Friday, April 8, 2011

FAMU Cuts Orange and Green Ribbon for the Hansel E. Tookes Sr. Student Recreation Center and Recreational Fields

Florida A&M University (FAMU) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hansel E. Tookes, Sr. Student Recreation Center and Recreational Fields. The ceremony celebrated the opening of Phase Two and Phase Three of the three-phase project. Construction for Phase Two began in spring 2010 and Phase Three began in summer 2010.

The Phase Two additions, which cost approximately $2.7 million, include two indoor multi-functional basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a wellness suite and a 36-foot indoor rock-climbing wall.

Wilson Blue, a senior criminal justice major from Miami, Fla. expressed that he is excited that the recreation center now has a rock-climbing wall.

“This is something that the university needed to move forward,” said Blue. “The rock-climbing wall is my favorite addition. I am excited about trying it out.”

The Phase Three additions, which are outdoor add-ons, include three basketball courts, two turf flag football fields, a softball and baseball field, a soccer field, two sand volleyball courts, a field house and a pavilion. Phase Three was approximately $5 million.

The recreation center was first opened in 2006 as part of a three-phase project that promotes the wellness and overall health of the FAMU campus community. Part one of the project was completed in 2006 and is a mostly student-run operation and funded through Student A&S Funds. The 40,000 square foot building houses a 16,500 square-foot workout area, a bicycle spinning classroom, a massage area and an exercise and aerobics room on two floors.

“These amenities will aid in our constant pursuit of ‘Excellence with Caring’ to improve our students’ educational and recreational experience at FAMU,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons.

The Recreation Center was designed by JRA Architects, Inc. David Vincent, senior vice president of JRA Architects, Inc. and a FAMU alumnus, was present for the ribbon cutting ceremony. The Cook Brothers, Inc. constructed the recreational fields and Childers Construction Co. built the recreation additions.

The center is named after Hansel E. Tookes Sr., who was on the 1942 Florida A&M College (FAMC) football team. The team had an unprecedented season going undefeated, untied and won the national championship. Tookes was also captain of the FAMC basketball team that won a national championship. He received a B.S. degree from FAMC.

Tookes was later hired as an assistant coach and rose to the ranks of athletic director at FAMU. During his tenure, he became the co-founder of the Florida Classic football game and founder of the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame. He also started the National Summer Youth Sports Program in Tallahassee.

In 1960, he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He was the first African-American member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Executive Rules Committee and the NCAA Golf Committee.

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