Behind UCA’s intramural fields is a sky high, obstacle course structure that is known at the Challenge Course and, after a long summer of construction, will officially open on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
According to the UCA site that provides challenge course construction updates, the course will include 10 obstacle High Static Team course, 4 stand alone High Ropes challenges, 17 low team challenges, 2 outdoor climbing walls, and 2 dual ziplines. Its goal is to provide an “outdoor environment where UCA and the rest of the community will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that can be organized to focus on topics such as: team building, self growth, and recreation.”
The course is the brainchild of Director of Campus Recreation, Richard H. Hammond, who started the process in 2016 by getting approved to write a proposal.
“At my past university we built one for the students, and it was well received by the university and local community,” said Hammond. “Once arriving here and spending time learning the university and the area, I realized that developing a course here would be a good thing for the university and the Conway community.”
Hammond, along with Assistant Director of Challenge Course and COPA, Robert Stine, said that having the course on a college campus provides student organizations with accessiblity to the resource at a better value without having to leave campus. They said it also contributed to the design process and allowed them to better meet the needs of students, faculty and staff. However, it is also open to the community.
“We already have three groups reserving the course in September and have had a lot of inquiries about the course from other groups,” Stine said.
The grand opening will take place at 1:30 on Sept. 3. Hammond said that they are planning to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as a few vendors.
“We have gotten Andy’s, Kona Ice, and Pineapple Whip to sponsor this event, and they will be on site giving away some of their products and coupons,” said Hammond.
A few areas of the course will be open at the grand opening for attendees to try for free as long as they are wearing closed-toed shoes and appropriate athletic wear.
There will also be a few other days during the fall semester where students will be allowed to come out to the course and try certain elements for free.
As winter approaches, however, the course may not be open, because it cannot be operated during freezing or wet weather.
“We do expect that weather will have an impact on accessibility during a few months of the year,” said Stine. “The course will be closed over the winter break.”
The project was funded by the campus recreation reserve, which is where some of the funds from the student campus recreation fee are placed.
All reservation material and prices can be found at uca.edu/campusrecreation.