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Powerhouse Officially Opens Doors

After nearly six years of planning, construction, and anticipation, the Powerhouse finally and officially opened its doors to Beloiters this week. On the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 6, students gathered in the Aldrich field to walk across the pedestrian bridge and into the brand new student union and recreation building. On Friday, there was a second event for donors and the board of trustees, followed by a celebration open to students, staff, and faculty of Beloit College with live music, free food, and giveaways of t-shirts, stickers, and more. The official start of regular hours for the Powerhouse begins this Monday, Feb. 10.

Around those major events, the Powerhouse also played host to several other smaller functions this past week. On Thursday, before students came across the bridge, the building hosted a media day. Several local media outlets, from Channel 3000 News to Visit Beloit, got to tour the new facility and interview several school officials. On Saturday, the building was opened up to the greater Beloit community, with people from around the city of Beloit being welcomed into the building for the first time while Beloit College was hosting the involvement fair in the Powerhouse, the first of many opportunities for students to use the space for clubs and organizations.

On Feb. 10, the Powerhouse will start normal operating hours, from 7 a.m. to midnight. Students will have access to study spaces, the fitness and recreation floors, and the indoor track any time during normal operating hours. Other spaces, like the “club hub” meeting space and the Weissberg Auditorium, will be available for students to reserve. Some spaces will also be available for professors to reserve for a class time as well, in a limited capacity. Additionally, places like the yoga studio will be used to host a variety of fitness-themed classes, from Zumba to spin cycling.

After the Beloit Swim and Dive team hosted a meet in the Powerhouse for the first time last weekend, the pool and accompanying locker room have been in use for more than a week now. These facilities were also opened to the Beloit College students on Friday, Feb. 7.

Not all of the Powerhouse will be ready yet, however. Students will have to wait a few more months for the turf fieldhouse, one of the most anticipated aspects of the $38 million construction, which is expected to be completed in May. Along with the fieldhouse, the corresponding section of the indoor track that is planned to run through the fieldhouse will also not be completed until the full fieldhouse can be completed. As a result, students will only have access to about three-quarters of the length of the track. The outdoor riverwalk will also not be available until the spring or summer, and the elevator by the door of the pedestrian bridge is also not yet installed. In the meantime, students that require the use of an elevator will have to cross the track and use the elevator in the fitness center.

Despite some of the building not being entirely ready, the Powerhouse is going to be full steam ahead for the foreseeable future, more than half a decade after the original proposal was accepted. With 120,000 square feet of space spread across five floors, the structure is a literally massive addition to the campus.

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