On November 17, the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) expanded its health and wellness amenities by opening the new Shoreline Sports Complex, which provides enhanced outdoor spaces for general use, intramural sports, sports clubs and more.
The new offerings at the complex include:
- Four lighted sand volleyball courts.
- Four lighted basketball courts.
- Four lighted tennis courts — with two courts lined for pickleball.
- A lighted, large grass field for competitive sports.
- A lighted, smaller grass field for free play.
- Outdoor fitness area.
- Pavilion building — seating, equipment check-out and restrooms.
- Multiple water fountain/bottle filling stations.
Zach Gilbert, the associate director of Campus Recreation, said the need for the project was seen after the former outdoor facility was partially removed during an expansion of on-campus housing.
“With that expansion, the campus lost a sizeable portion of free play space and open recreation tennis courts,” said Gilbert. “Campus also saw deterioration of the outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts. The new facility was necessary to remake the area surrounding the new housing units and the addition of a dining hall.”
The complex is part of UNCW’s efforts to enhance spaces dedicated to health and wellness. Recently, the free weight area in the Pat Leonard Student Recreation Center underwent improvements.
“Our Seahawks deserve great spaces like this new complex to bring balance to their academic endeavors,” said Aswani Volety, the UNCW chancellor, in a statement. “This complex will serve as a multi-purpose venue for students to recreate, for intramural events, and as a new practice and competition venue for our nationally prominent sports club teams.”
Success with Outdoor Spaces
Due to the Shoreline Sports Complex’s completion and location near the first and second-year residence halls, Gilbert said students will have a top-of-the-line open recreation space at their doorstep.
“Students will have more options to recreate through this addition,” said Gilbert. “Additionally, the facility will allow us to host the varsity beach volleyball program on campus for their games and practices.”
Gilbert said the major benefit of a large outdoor offering is Campus Recreation now has a variety of spaces for sport clubs and intramural sports while meeting the needs of the campus community for free play.
“These spaces give us the ability to continually meet the changing needs of the campus without negatively impacting our current offerings,” said Gilbert. “The large space also provides us the opportunity to work with other campus departments and clubs to host their events in the spaces our students are currently found.”
When creating new outdoor spaces, Gilbert provided the following three tips for your department and school to learn from:
- Consider the ways new facilities could create new or enhance existing recreation opportunities.
- How can you maximize usage of an area to meet current and anticipate future needs? For example, you can put pickleball lines on a tennis court to allow multiple uses while remaining in a footprint that allows for multiple activity spaces.
- Design the facility around the key components you want to ensure your major needs are met before your desires.
By following this example set by UNCW Campus Recreation, your school can create its own path to outdoor success.
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