Aug. 5 Update: Athletic and recreation complex expected to open in late August or early September.

The University of St. Thomas expects to receive a certificate of occupancy for the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex tomorrow, Aug. 6.

Although the university expects to receive the certificate tomorrow, access to the facility is restricted until it officially opens to the public.

The certificate of occupancy is an important milestone, said Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer. It means the building has passed its code inspections and the contractor begins turning over the building to the university.

“But much work remains,” Vangsgard said.  “With so many variables involved in a project this size, it is still too soon to announce a date that the building will open for public use. It looks like the opening date will be in late August or early September.”

Jane Canney, vice president for student affairs, said an announcement about the athletic and recreation complex will be made in approximately two to three weeks.  The announcement will include the opening date, hours of operation and membership options.

Construction of the $52 million, 180,000-square foot complex began in May 2009. At one point it was scheduled to open in October 2010 but moving up the demolition of O’Shaughnessy Hall and some good weather helped the contractors finish their work sooner.

Starting the week of Aug. 16, members and coaches of the football, volleyball and cross country teams will have access to locker facilities in the new complex. All others, with the exception of construction workers, are asked to not enter the building until the opening date.

The athletic and recreation complex is named for Lee and Penny Anderson who made a $60 million gift that helped fund three major projects: a 725-car parking facility that opened on south campus early in 2009, the athletic and recreation complex, and the student center which is under construction at the corner of Summit and Cretin avenues.  The student center is scheduled to open in January of 2012.

The Andersons' gift – the largest single contribution by an individual or couple to a college or university in Minnesota – launched St. Thomas’ $500 million capital campaign, “Opening Doors,” in fall 2007.