Mission and Vision
Recreational Services is committed to enriching the quality of campus life by promoting and offering opportunities for physical, mental and social interaction growth in healthy surroundings and superior recreational facilities. Recreational Services’ innovative co-curricular programs and offerings serve to provide a connecting link between students and the university experience.
The main recreation facility on campus is the Bell Center. All faculty, staff and students have free access to all Recreational Services’ spaces. The Bell Center is attached to the Knapp Center which is a combined Athletics and Recreation space. The Knapp Center is where all Division I level basketball and volleyball games are played. In the middle of campus is Underground Fitness, which is a student-only gym.
The Bell Center opened in November 1977 at an estimated cost of $5.8 million. Renovations to the facility included the lobby in 2017, and new curtains and lighting in 2019. With over 58,000 square feet of space, the Bell Center houses both Recreational Services and Athletic Department offices
Features include a 25-meter, six-lane indoor pool; fitness room with cardio and free weights; fitness studio; gym with three basketball courts, four volleyball courts, four badminton courts and four pickleball courts; equipment checkout room; men’s and women’s locker rooms; lounge and vending areas. TRX was recently added in 2021.
The Knapp Center acts as Drake University’s main facility for Athletics, but Recreation utilizes the building’s track, four racquetball courts, walleyball court and gym space. The facility holds over 75 different events per year. These include trade shows, concerts and commencements.
At an estimated cost of $12.5 million, the 114,000-square-foot Knapp Center opened in December 1992. Phase One of renovation was completed in summer 2022. The project included renovating existing office space into a new sports medicine and hydrotherapy area.
Field House and Outdoor Facilities
Drake University’s Field House opened in January 1927 and was renovated in August 2013. At over 45,000 square feet, the building features a turf area and is used for Athletics and sports clubs practices and intramural contests.
The intramural/recreational outdoor area has three fields for flag football, soccer and softball, an area for sports clubs featuring one soccer field, and multiple sand volleyball courts. Both intramural and sports clubs fields are used by soccer and ultimate frisbee clubs.
Roger Knapp Tennis Center and Underground Fitness
The tennis center opened in October 1992 at a cost of $1.7 million and features six indoor and six outdoor courts. The facility’s 48,000 square feet is used for Athletics contests and practices as well as intramural tennis. The Roger Knapp Tennis Center also received a remodel in 2022.
Underground Fitness is a student-only recreation space located in the lower level of the Student Center. The space opened in January 2012 and is a full fitness room with cardio and weight equipment.
Recreational Services hosted its first unified intramural indoor soccer league in 2020 and began offering spin classes to Group X in 2022. Group X offers a variety of classes free for students including yoga, Pilates, hip hop, muscle mix and more. Classes are taught by students and non-students. Innertube water polo is a campus favorite, and Drake University was crowned the 2018 and 2020 NIRSA Region V Basketball Men’s Champion.
The department also offers free body compositions and fitness assessments for all students. Recreational Services holds events such as the annual Staff Olympics, student employee lunch before finals and the end of year banquet. The Bulldog Build program focuses on student development through goal-setting and different initiatives. One-on-one evaluations are also given to over 140 student employees.
Intramurals includes several creative offerings such as canoe battleship, sand volleyball, indoor flag football and bags. Recreational Services also hosted the State of Iowa Extramural Three-Point Contest in 2022. The competition rotates every year between Drake University, University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The department works closely with the School of Health Sciences to supervise one or two senior interns every year.
- There is a Pop-A-Shot arcade basketball game in the lobby.
- All recreation facilities and programs are free for faculty, staff and students to use.
- All members can bring their family members 15 or younger into the facility for free.
- Recreational Services is the largest employer on campus for students.
- The department employs around 150 students each year under the Aquatics, Open Rec, Intramurals and Wellness departments along with four full-time professional staff and two graduate assistants.
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