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Halfway to Success: Gym Campaign to Provide Health, Recreation Options

November 12, 2004

The Gymnasium Expansion Campaign at UC Merced recently reached a milestone: it has now raised over half the funds needed for the expanded plans for the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. Donations and participation are still needed to help provide high-quality health and recreation choices for UC Merced students.

In 2002, the Joseph Edward Gallo family stepped forward with a $2 million donation to UC Merced to begin planning for a campus recreation and wellness center. Without this gift, no center would have been available, as the State of California funds only academic buildings for state universities. With it, UC Merced is planning a high-quality, multi-use recreational facility that will eventually house intercollegiate and intramural sports, exercise facilities and offices for professionals who will care for the mental and physical health of UC Merced students.

The Modesto-based Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation has contributed $500,000 to help expand the facility, now formally known as the Joseph Edward Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center. Greg and Cathie Hostetler of Los Banos also donated $500,000, kicking off a regional fund-raising campaign that will gather $1.365 million in total to see the planned expansion through to complete success.

The Hostetlers'contribution specifically provided for expansion of the center's basketball court. The court that was included in the original plan was not large enough for NCAA basketball. The new regulation-size court will now be named in the Hostetlers'honor. Bob and Evie Ayers and Mike Salvadori have contributed funds to name administrative offices in the center. Numerous businesses and families have also committed significant gifts and pledges to the campaign for a total of more than $700,000.

The expanded plans for the center also include two volleyball courts, rooms for meetings and banquets, and increased lobby and locker room space. Current plans call for the facility to be built adjacent to student housing, allowing convenient access in keeping with UC Merced's directive to keep the student population physically and mentally healthy.

Anyone interested in supporting the center is encouraged to contact Associate Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Mike Campbell at (209) 724-4402.