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Campus Snapshot: Schools Build Up Their Recreation Facilities

The University of Cincinnati is part of a trend. Across the country, colleges and universities are building student unions and recreation centers.

Date: 11/21/2005 12:00:00 AM
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

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According to College Planning and Management magazine, schools will complete about $14 billion in construction projects this year. That’s not all, colleges will start about $14.5 billion in projects this year too.

Though the magazine doesn’t break these total figures down into specific types of projects, anecdotal evidence points to a good deal of recreation center and student union construction. For instance, the University of Cincinnati opened an expanded student union, Tangeman University Center, last year that was designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects. Other recent student unions have been built at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Arizona-Tucson, the University of Akron and the University of Vermont. Others – like that at Ohio University and Louisiana State University – will soon open.

In terms of rec centers, College Planning and Management magazine’s “2005 College Construction Report” states that 30 physical-education buildings were underway on university campuses in 2004, at a median size of 63,000 square feet and a median cost of $12 million.

Below is a sampling of campus recreation centers recently completed, underway or soon-to-be completed.

University of Cincinnati
The 350,000 square-foot, $112.9-million Campus Recreation Center designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne will open in February 2006.

University of Alabama-Birmingham
A $24.5-million campus recreation center opened in May 2005.

University of California-Irvine
Tentative plans are in place to expand the 89,000 square-foot Anteater Recreation Center.

Holy Cross College, South Bend, Ind.
In September 2005, the college launched a $5.5 million fundraising campaign to build a 37,000 square-foot campus recreation center.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Currently, the school is in the midst of a $77-million renovation of its two main facilities devoted to recreation. Together, the two facilities span 450,000 square feet.

University of Missouri at Columbia
A $50-million, 300,000 square-feet recreation center opened in August 2005.

Missouri Baptist University
In fall 2004, plans for an $8-million capital campaign were announced in order to build the 30,000 square-foot Spartan Sports and Recreation Complex. 

Southeast Missouri State University
In September 2005, the university approved an $8.3 million expansion of the current 90,000 square-foot facility. The expansions include a 28,000 square-foot aquatic facility.

Youngstown State University
The approximately 32,000 square-foot, $21 million Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center opened in September 2005.

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