Elizabethtown College’s dynamic Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well-Being is a beacon for student health and wellness.
The multidimensional facility builds on Elizabethtown’s proud history and commitment to student wellness and equips it to continue to graduate students ready to live healthy, meaningful lives long into the future.
At 82,000 square feet, the Bowers Center is the largest facility on the Elizabethtown campus and offers diverse programming. The building includes three basketball and mixed-recreation courts; a 180-meter indoor track; fitness, wellness and athletics training spaces; multiple team locker rooms; a demonstration kitchen; a “living-room” to fuel student connectivity and collaboration; work and study space; a relaxation room, cafe, outdoor community space and more.
Campus Rec Magazine recently had the chance to catch up with Whitney Crull, the director of the Elizabethtown College Bowers Center, for her thoughts on the project’s impact and outcomes.
CR: Can you talk about the value and impact the Bowers Center brings to the Elizabethtown College campus?
WC: This project is an absolute game changer for students and employees. Before the Bowers Center, there was no centralized hub for fitness and recreation on campus. Most students had to go off campus for these opportunities, and that inherently makes it harder to prioritize wellness.
This project changed all that and we’re extremely grateful to our donors, Kenneth and Rosalie Bowers, and so many who contributed to making the project a reality. The Bowers Center is a true campus hub and a place everyone wants to be on campus. It has elevated health and wellness even more to the forefront of the Elizabethtown experience. And it has recharged our athletics programs with new spaces for training. It’s an amazing facility many of our peer institutions simply don’t have.
CR: How does this facility fit into the college’s health and wellness program for students?
WC: Elizabethtown College has always had very strong health education programs, and we’re continuing to diversify our offering with new nursing programs, exercise science and more. This building is tangible evidence of our institutional commitment to wellness, and it also creates new opportunities for programming and partnership.
Since the Bowers Center opened, we’ve had nutrition and biology classes use the demonstration kitchen. We’ve had biomechanics hold events in the fitness areas. Our diversity and inclusion team has had cultural nights via food, fitness and fun. People want to come to the Bowers Center, and it’s surfacing new possibilities on numerous fronts.
CR: You referenced how this building bolsters Elizabethtown College athletics. Is the center a recruiting tool?
WC: Absolutely. Many of our peer institutions in the region simply don’t have this kind of facility. It helps us recruit students, student athletes and employees, honestly. Whenever we have campus tours, this is our last stop because it creates and leaves such a great impression. We’ve had numerous students tell us the Bowers Center is a key reason they chose Elizabethtown.
CR: Talk a bit about the programming, planning and design process for this project?
WC: I joined Elizabethtown College when the project was already underway, but I always appreciated how receptive everyone was to my fresh perspective and new ideas. The design team and all the stakeholders worked incredibly well together, and it was an exciting effort to be part of each day.
I’d never worked on something at this scale before and it was awesome to have design partners who listened, who had great ideas and who brought our vision to life with us.
CR: What is your favorite aspect of the new center?
WC: I love it’s so much more than just a fitness center. It’s all encompassing of health and wellness. There are healthy food options, a demonstration kitchen for nutrition education, spaces for recreation, and also spaces for relaxation and wellness.
There are so many reasons to come to the Bowers Center beyond fitness and recreation. Students come to study in front of the fireplace, meet friends, grab lunch and hang out. It has transformed our campus and student experience.
For more information, visit cannondesign.com.
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