The grand opening of the renovated Wake Forest University Wellbeing Center was held March 28, 2018. Now, a year later, the building is thriving and so is campus rec.
In the first year, the Wellbeing Center has experienced:
The combination of a renovation and an expansion, the Wellbeing Center includes the Sutton Center and the Reynolds Gymnasium, housing campus recreation, student health services, the office of well-being and varsity women’s volleyball.
“We wanted to focus on not only being fitness and recreation, but rather focus on the holistic well-being of all individuals and thought there was a need. The Reynolds Gym hasn’t gone away; it’s just incorporated in the well-being complex,” said Joe Cassidy, the executive director of campus fitness and recreation at Wake Forest University.
A large part of the transformation was due to the physical appearance of the building hindering students from even visiting. “We started with a 1950’s era building that was solid brick – there were no windows or natural light,” described Cassidy. “The facility was so old, dark and grungy that students weren’t attracted to come to it – they were more apt to go off campus for fitness and recreation needs.”
Now, upon walking into the Wellbeing Center, visitors are greeted with an open concept consisting of massage and lounge chairs, a fireplace, a large water wall, and among the historic brick are now floor to ceiling windows, allowing for abundant natural lighting.
“Students are now flocking to the facility, not only for fitness and recreation, but for social, educational and other needs,” said Cassidy. “When we looked at the ID swipes for last fall semester, over 90 percent of the student body had used our facility.”
In its first year, the Wellbeing Center has flourishing so well that the only challenge seems to be space. “The building has been so popular, we’ve had more departments that want to be in our building or bring their programs to our building – we’re trying to figure out how to accommodate everybody,” said Cassidy.
Moving forward, Cassidy’s goal for the center is to continue focusing on the overall wellbeing of the campus community. “The facility is more than just a gym – it has transformed into the campus community center. Although there’s fitness and recreation, there’s lots of other social, recreational and educational events and activities that occur within the facility,” he said.
All photos courtesy of RDG