This December, Radford University’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center will celebrate its third anniversary. What used to serve as the only thing close to a recreation center for the university — a single-room fitness center and one-court gymnasium — has now turned into a 115,500-square-foot recreation center, serving multiple program spaces for the campus community.
“We had a facility for multiple campus programs, a small fitness center, a shared gymnasium with just one court — basically a 1970s-style gymnasium,” said Barry Miller, the director of student recreation and wellness. “So we had very few facilities just for recreation.”
The university’s $32 million project resulted in a facility that is far from being short on features, as it includes: an open recreation space with a gymnasium, multi-activity court, racquetball; RU Outdoors Program with trip planning, resources, display, storage, equipment rental, and vehicle access; group exercise space for yoga, aerobics, combatives and indoor cycling; wellness center with resources, assessment, personal training and counseling; instructional space with a classroom and kitchen, and more.
The facility also features a one-of-a-kind, multi-level indoor track that rises and falls 14 feet in elevation between two floors, providing members with extraordinary views of Radford’s campus and the natural beauty of the New River Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the building.
When the building opened, an entire department launched with it: The Department of Student Recreation and Wellness. “Before that, we were simply programmed under student affairs,” said Miller. “Now, we have a full comprehensive collegiate recreation program with facilities including a new outdoor turf complex, intramurals, fitness/wellness, outdoor adventure, sports clubs, non-credit instruction and summer youth camps.”
Miller said feedback from students has been extremely positive, and in this past academic year alone the facility had over 200,000 visits, out of a school of ~9,400. When Miller ran the data, it showed that 78 percent of the student body had utilized the facility.
One of Miller’s favorite highlights of the recreation center is the clean, bright, open-floor plan. “When you walk into the front of the building you can see all the way to the back of the building and most of the various activity areas, as there’s a lot of transparency, glass and open-areas,” he added.
The exterior of the facility combines stone, brick and glass to complement the other buildings on Radford’s campus; and the interior is made up of neutral finishes along with different textures, patterns and materials — with a consistent touch of “Radford Red” for contrast.
The facility also earned a LEED Gold certification for its energy conservation efforts and received several awards in its three-years with open doors. These awards include the NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facility Award in 2017.