The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 17, 2012

Indoor rock-climbing wall to be built at MSU

MANKATO — In the five weeks that the new outdoor rock-climbing wall behind Gage Complex at Minnesota State University was open to users last fall, 650 people came to use it.

And that’s not just students, said Sam Steiger, program coordinator of the Adventure Education Program; it’s community members, too. The popularity of the wall is a pretty good indication that the indoor wall, soon to be built in Myers Field House, will be a big draw to students, MSU staff and community members.

“I’ve been excited about it because there’s no climbing opportunities, for the most part, from the Cities to Iowa,” said Steiger, who has 20 years experience in the adventure education industry, including rock-climbing in southern California. “It’s opening up a new recreational opportunity for the community.”

Construction of the $150,000 wall by Nicros Inc. will begin toward the end of May, after the end of spring semester, and should be completed by July 9. The 2,000 square-foot wall will be able to hold 12 climbers at once and will have a foam landing surface at its base. Twelve people will be holding the ropes for users.

The structure will be built in the south-east corner of Myers, adjacent to Stadium Road, and will be used for Human Performance Introduction to Climbing classes, as well as be open for public use fall semester.

One of the coolest parts about the rock wall is that there is a column component that will allow users to climb completely around it, Steiger said, with a climbable criss-cross crack in the back.

There will be open climbing hours when students can use the wall for free. Area residents can use the wall during designated hours at a cost of $12 each visit. Community ed classes and private groups will also be able to use the wall.

Three staff members will monitor climbers at all times, Steiger said.

“It’s definitely set up for family usage,” Steiger said.

Staff in the Adventure Education Program at MSU proposed the wall after the completion of the outdoor wall last summer.

The program was granted the $150,000 from the university through One-Time Reinvestment Funding. The outdoor wall cost $150,000 and was funded through Institutional Equipment and Repair and Replacement Funding.

The construction of neither wall came from student pockets, Steiger said, although the ongoing operational costs will come from student fees, which is why the wall be free for students to use.

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