The Jo Recreation and Wellness Center

The Jo

As a vibrant Jesuit college, the new Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center (The Jo) at the College of the Holy Cross is providing a unique gathering place to care for the mind, body and spirit. 

Part of the college’s long-term strategic plan included an upgrade to the health, wellness and athletics facilities. As a result, the college turned its attention to replacing the Field House — a war-surplus hangar brought to the campus in 1947 — with an upgraded facility for the entirety of the community. The upgraded facility, known as The Jo, was made possible with the help of a $40 million donation. It’s the largest in the history of the college, from John Luth and his wife, Dr. Joanne Chouinard-Luth, as part of the college’s Become More campaign. 

“While Holy Cross is noted for being a strikingly beautiful campus, some of the buildings — including the previous fitness areas — needed to be updated,” said Jamie Shannon, the director of Campus Recreation at Holy Cross. “Balance is the foundation of a strong mind and nourished spirit. Providing adequate facilities in this area is an essential part of helping students realize their full potential.” 

Finding Balance at The Jo

Housing Campus Recreation, as well as the Office of Student Wellness Education, the Worksite Wellness Office and the Public Safety Office, The Jo fulfills this balance. All are essential partners in providing for the community’s well-being. 

“I like that these offices can share the space and holistically work together to offer programs and services to the college community,” said Shannon. “In addition to the abundance of cardio and strength equipment supplied by Precor, the multipurpose and Spin studios offer the potential for classes and programs the college has never previously had dedicated space for.” 

As the hub for health and wellness on campus, The Jo will be home to all club and intramural sports. It also has general recreation, fitness and wellness programming for students, faculty and staff. Designed by CannonDesign, the new 52,000-square-foot facility has multilevel windows on all sides. This creates a bright, inviting space for the college community. 

“The glass design is an especially important feature in a space like this because the visibility of the activity is motivational all by itself,” said Shannon. “This new space will make wellness activities more accessible and doable. If your roommate is meeting you for lunch but insists on running the track before they join you, you may be more likely to put your shoes on and get to the gym that day.”

Other Features Include

A one-tenth-mile track occupies the upper level of the three-story building. It is above two basketball courts on the second level and looks out toward the hills of Worcester. There are areas for weight training. Plus, there are cardio machines on the second floor and on the upper level around the track. Green space and a landscaped path connect The Jo to additional outdoor space. They provide even more options for fitness classes and events during warmer months.

EXTRA CREDIT: To best help new generations and those that will follow, colleges and universities are reimagining their student health centers.

Additional features and amenities include:

  • Two sports courts.
  • A jogging track.
  • Weight rooms.
  • Locker rooms.
  • A golf simulator room.
  • Three rooms for yoga, cycling and other fitness classes. 

“The new facility is located at the upper campus entrance which is a fabulous campus location,” said Shannon. “Everyone who comes to campus will see it, and it will be a central part of what’s happening on campus.”  

Image courtesy of the College of the Holy Cross

Brittany is an editor at Peake Media. Reach her at

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