In August 2014, Ohio University’s Walter Fieldhouse opened its doors to students from various organizations and groups, including varsity athletes and club sports. The facility cost the university $13 million, marking a substantial investment to the campus recreation department.
Meagan Wain, the assistant director for Walter Fieldhouse & Ping Recreation Center at Ohio University, shared more information concerning the benefits of the facility.
CR: Why did the university want to open the Fieldhouse?
MW: The benefits of this facility are endless. It was built to provide a practice facility for varsity athletics, academic classes, Marching 110 (the school’s marching band), Army and Air Force ROTC, intramurals and club sports, and is open for student use and community memberships and rentals. It is a huge recruiting tool for the entire university and really expands what the department of campus recreation can offer.
CR: What more does it add to the school?
MW: It adds a huge opportunity for all user groups and students to have an indoor space to practice and play. Outdoor varsity athletic sports now have an athletic space to practice year round and during inclement weather, ROTC now has a home for morning training, campus recreation can offer more intramural programs and house more club sport practices, and students have the opportunity to use the facility for open recreation.
This facility has created 28 student employee positions and two practicum and internship positions and has allowed us to create relationships with the Sport Pedagogy and Rec Studies programs to help give students hands-on, out-of-the-classroom experiences.
MW: The Walter Fieldhouse is a 93,750-square-foot, multi-purpose pavilion that houses a 100-yard AstroTurf football field with two 10-yard end zones, a four-lane 316 meter track, a sand jumping pit, a pole vault pit, two All-American scoreboards that can be used individually during two simultaneous events, two filming platforms, two hitting cages, golf netting and an APR netting system that allows the field to be split into three sections to accommodate multiple simultaneous events. The facility is cooled with a fan ventilation system and has radiant heating that comes from underneath the track.
CR: What’s unique about the Fieldhouse?
MW: With the Fieldhouse being located in the floodplain, it was built with 17 overhead garage doors that make up the south and west walls of the facility. When these doors are open, the wall-to-facility ratio creates a pavilion rather than a full “building.” This is why it is called a multi-purpose pavilion. Another unique item is our daylight harvesting lighting systems. Our north and south lights will dim or turn off in correlation to the amount of natural light that enters through the windows.
CR: How has it been received by students and faculty?
MW: The facility was initially thought to be an “Ohio Athletics” facility, but over the year, we have done our best to show the current breakdown of user groups (information gathered from the Fall 2014 semester) and that it is not only used by athletics.
CR: What else would you like to share about the Fieldhouse?
MW: The Fieldhouse is managed by the Division of Student Affairs and Department of Campus Recreation specifically, and is truly open to all Ohio students. While often thought of as an athletics’ facility, campus recreation provides various opportunities for all students to utilize the facility.