A Modern Touch

Student Rec Center

Project: Flooring, equipment and facility updates at the Student Rec Center 

Mission: Re-vitalize the Student Rec Center

Completion date: Fall 2016

When Andy Darling came on board as the director of recreation at West Virginia University, he was immediately tasked with modernizing the Student Rec Center. The 15-year-old facility had several elements that were due for an upgrade. “We have an administration and a president who are huge proponents of the stuff that we do,” said Darling. “Within the first week of me being here, they told me that we needed to re-vitalize the building and we needed to upgrade. It has been fantastic. These are the things we wanted to do and to have that kind of support has been really exciting.”

Some of these improvements included installing Wi-Fi throughout the building, running more wiring and electrical circuits, replacing the cooling tower in the HVAC system, replacing some of the steam lines around the building, re-painting the interior of the facility to give it a more modern color palette that matched the university brand, and installing more day-use lockers.

Larger projects involved replacing the rubberized flooring and carpet in the fitness areas with Mondo sport flooring, as well as replacing fitness equipment. “Some of our fitness equipment was original, so 15-year-old stuff,” explained Darling. “We have been doing a phased replacement, so over the next three years we will replace almost all of it, but about a third of that equipment was replaced this summer.”

When it came to choosing vendors, Darling made sure to do his homework. “Kiefer did that installation for the Mondo flooring and I have worked with them in the past and was impressed with their work,” he added. “Life Fitness and Precor are the principle fitness vendors that we worked with and again, they are both leaders in the industry and excel in the different products that we are looking to bring in as the replacements.”

The Student Rec Center remained open for the majority of the renovation  projects, which according to Darling, presented the biggest challenge. “We really didn’t want to be closed for any longer than necessary, so getting the crucial items done and all the coordination was important,” said Darling. “We did have a pretty significant amount of equipment that came in and other pieces going out, so the scale of some of the things that took place while our users were in, and trying to impact them as little as possible was probably the biggest challenge.”

If you are getting ready to conduct a similar project at your recreation center, Darling suggested reaching out to the necessary stakeholders who can help you throughout the process. “Try to pull in all the stakeholders early,” he suggested. “We had some folks that were really helpful to us and able to be supportive, but at times we didn’t fully take advantage of that assistance until we were a little further along in the process. So had we brought everyone in early on we might have had fewer headaches.”

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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