Building Blocks: Achieving the Mission


A $42 million project that began in 2015 is underway and will be completed by late 2017 at Towson University in Maryland. This renovation is leaving students, faculty and staff excited to open the doors to 22,000 square feet of fitness floor space.

The new facility will include: a large area for free weights, dumbbells and selectorized equipment, including multiple power racks for Olympic style lifting; a dedicated area for functional training with an indoor sprint hill, set at a 20 percent grade to simulate an outdoor hill for training; a set of fitness stairs for running up to simulate stadium stairs for training; and an open floor space made of artificial turf for specific functional training with specific equipment designed for such activities.

Those visiting the recreation center once it opens will also see something that they’ve never seen in a recreation center before: a Ninja Warrior style challenge course. With interchangeable elements, it is one of the many parts of the recreation center that excites Grady Sheffield, the director of campus recreation at Towson University.

“We will be currently the only rec center in the country that will have that type of course, so it’s unique to us,” said Sheffield. “It’s built by a company called Adventure Solutions, who is actually based pretty close, and they do these courses in the private sector all over the world. And, it will have individual elements that can be changed out.”

Other highlights of the facility include: a dedicated cardio area on two of the three floors, offering 110 variations of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and other unique pieces of equipment; five group fitness studios, one dedicated for indoor cycling, a skills studio for combative type workouts, a mind-body studio for yoga/Pilates type workouts and two general group fitness studios; two multi-activity courts; a Jamba Juice; renovated space for a new Outdoor Adventure Center; and an admin office suite.

The current space for recreational offerings is well undersized to meet the needs of the 23,000 students for the upcoming year, said Sheffield.

“The project will enhance Campus Recreation’s ability to serve the university community by establishing a new identity and providing a state-of-the-art campus recreation facility — arguably, one of the most comprehensive campus recreation centers in the region,” said Sheffield. “Together with the planned Union expansion, the Burdick Hall expansion will create a ‘hub’ of campus life for students and serve as a recruiting tool for all members of the Towson University community.”

Sheffield explained the mission of campus recreation is to offer recreational opportunities promoting the development of student leaders and healthy lifestyles. And this is exactly what the project looks to achieve. “It is only natural that the students of Towson University will benefit the most from the project,” explained Sheffield. “That being said, campus recreation serves all members of the community.”

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