Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville, AL


We empower students to engage in fun and healthy experiences by developing growth opportunities which impact overall well-being and success.


The Recreation and Fitness Center at Jacksonville State University (JSU) is a 101,000-square-foot facility that opened in January 2019. To align with the campus master plan, the architectural design by Moody Nolan needed to create a “wow factor” while blending with existing facilities. The building is expressed through a prominent peak emphasizing the climbing wall that aligns with a major pedestrian path from central campus, connecting the new building to the rest of JSU.

The scale, materiality and rhythm of masonry wrappers resonate with the existing campus character. Brick patterns, reveals and pre-cast elements pick up on the campus’s contextual details. The roof’s metal coping references traditional slate tiles, consistent across JSU.

Inside the Facility

  • Three-court gymnasium
  • Three group exercise studios
  • Two racquetball courts
  • 10,000 square feet of weight and fitness space
  • Over 40-foot indoor climbing and bouldering wall
  • Multi-purpose gymnasium
  • Elevated jogging track
  • Indoor lap pool
  • Outdoor leisure pool
  • Wet meeting room
  • Wellness center
  • Outdoor adventure center
  • Gaming lounge
  • Social areas with seating
  • Study areas with charging stations
  • Pro shop
  • Peak Café featuring Starbucks


Since opening the Recreation and Fitness Center in 2019, programs have expanded and new programs have launched, including:

Adventure Recreation

  • Indoor climbing and bouldering
  • A robust gear rental program
  • Adventure trip series


  • Learn to swim program
  • Lifeguard certification courses

Competitive Sports

  • Seven additional intramural sports and events
  • Teams that compete in extramural tournaments
  • Esports programming
  • Sent a student official to receive a bid to the NIRSA National Basketball Championship

Fitness and Wellness

  • Personal training
  • Massage therapy
  • Premium fitness classes

Youth Programming

  • Summer youth camps
  • A variety of birthday party options


  • This is the first project in Alabama to utilize the Construction Manager at Risk project delivery method.
  • This is the second collegiate student recreation facility in the country ever built under a public-private partnership (P3) structure.
  • The Recreation and Fitness Center won the Associated Builder’s and Contractor’s top award for an “Institutional Project over $10 million,” presented on December 5, 2019.
  • The Climbing Wall features walk-up access to top management sites. The face of the wall incorporates natural features based on local outdoor climbing areas.
  • Both the recreation and fitness, and the recreation programs are managed by CENTERS, LLC. JSU is the second CENTERS site in Alabama.
  • Skylights are utilized on basketball courts to maximize natural light and decrease energy usage.

Photos courtesy of JSU Photography

Brittany Howard
Brittany is an assistant editor at Peake Media. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com

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