Lees-McRae College Plans for Expansion

Contrary to popular belief, college is not all about academics. It is also important to invest in your student body’s health and wellness. This will not only have a positive result for the individual student but also for the school as a whole.

In an effort to improve student retention and recruiting skills, Lees-McRae College launched an expansion initiative.

“We have really capitalized on the repurposing of our existing spaces, which were not being used efficiently,” said Craig McPhail, the vice president of athletics and club sports at Lees-McRae College. “This will help with not only recruiting and retention efforts, but will also give our students great opportunities for the development of their health and wellness.”

Athletic enhancements include adding a film room, new locker rooms for the softball and lacrosse teams, and a captain’s conference room. The school also plans to covert the pool into an indoor training facility, which will give teams a place to train during inclement weather.

“Our pool was not quite the size needed to have swimming as a college sport,” explained McPhail. “The pool was predominantly used by our community visitors and the population using the pool decreased. It became a bit of a financial drain so I thought it would be a good time for us to look into turning that space into an indoor training facility.”

According to McPhail, there are also plans to renovate the student recreation center, which is located in the center of campus. “We have the top floor done,” he added. “Then there are two other floors. We would love to make the second floor dedicated to cardio and the bottom floor would be our free weights area. We want to make it the central hub for health and wellness on our campus.”

While some projects, such as the film room, are already well underway, the majority of renovations have the expected completion date of fall 2015. “We want them to be ready for our new students when they come to campus is August,” said McPhail. “The student recreation center might take a little longer because it is a larger project, but we will begin work on that hopefully this summer.”

McPhail explains increasing the number of students involved in recreation will have numerous positive outcomes. “Students will be more attentive in the classroom, they will become better community stewards and be more invested in the livelihood of the school they are attending,” he said. “The institutions vitality will benefit from their ability to use health and wellness as a way to stay involved.”

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Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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