Topics: Athletics, Administrative

August 26, 2010

Ball State University will dedicate its new Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) to great fanfare at 4 p.m. Sept. 1.

Attendees of the ribbon cutting are encouraged to leave their suits in their offices and participate in workout clothes. And why not? The $40 million center encloses more than 400,000 square feet, with more than half comprised of new and renovated space. And the center seemingly has every fitness and sporting activity covered.

Highlights include:
·       an approximate 20,000-square-foot indoor turf field (the same infill FieldTurf as Scheumann Stadium)
·       seven full-length basketball and volleyball courts in a fieldhouse setting
·       the Outdoor Pursuits Center, Ball State's hub for outdoor exercise, trips and adventures
·       a 35-foot climbing wall that resembles Indiana limestone and features multiple interchangeable routes
·       a 200-meter elevated running track

"With wellness being a centerpiece of our strategic plan, it makes sense that we have this state-of-the-art facility in the center of our campus," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "By bringing this building online, we have effectively tripled our fitness space. And with the addition of the Outdoor Pursuits Center, we will encourage students, faculty and staff to explore the immeasurable expanse of the great outdoors."

The center will be open an average of 18 hours daily and makes available 15,000 square feet of new fitness space on three levels. A 7,000-square-foot strength area is located on the lower floor; 5,000 square feet of cardio area is on the middle level; and a 3,000-square-foot loft on the track level will also be dedicated cardio space.

The suspended track is 1/8th of a mile, has three lanes and is constructed of a resilient rubber surface. The indoor turf field will be available for intramural and club sports as well as recreational use. It can be used for soccer, baseball, flag football, lacrosse, rugby or ultimate Frisbee. Three multipurpose rooms will serve as spaces for group exercises such as yoga, pilates and martial arts.

Putting students first

The building primarily serves students, and many of the center's features are a direct result of collected input from students, said Dan Byrnes, director of sports, facilities and recreation services.

"Being able to open a facility that truly serves the needs of our students as well as the campus community has been rewarding. And as an added bonus, the facility is quite adaptable and will be able to host many local events," said Byrnes. "This building certainly enhances our vibrant campus and is one of the crown jewels of Ball State's wellness efforts."

Additional recent wellness initiatives include Ball State becoming a smoke-free campus, the appointment of a campus director of health enhancement and the establishment of the Ball State Employee Quick Clinic.

Outdoor pursuits

The facility also houses the Outdoor Pursuits Center, a resource center that features a 35-foot climbing wall as well as the site for clinics, programs and rental equipment for various outdoor activities.

Some of the potential trips include rock climbing, whitewater rafting, snow skiing, backpacking and more. And some of the tentatively planned clinics and events could include fly tying, backcountry cooking, adventure races and bouldering competitions, explained Stephanie Reinhart, assistant director of outdoor pursuits.

"Our goal is to grow into a dynamic year-round program that runs smoothly and meets the needs of Ball State students, faculty, staff, alumni and our local community members," Reinhart said. "We already have plans to take students hiking in Hoosier National Forest and whitewater rafting in West Virginia, and we're eager to continue to fill the calendar with exciting outdoor experiences."

Fun facts

The new center:
·       will allow Ball State to offer 11 new intramural sports formats for the 2010-11 school year
·       has more than 90 new pieces of cardio equipment
·       includes more than 81,000 pounds of free weights
·       harbors roughly 110,000 pounds of selectorized weights
·       is filled with more than 1,700 pieces of rental equipment including canoes, kayaks, bicycles, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, outdoor cooking utensils and more
·       will host 55 fitness classes each week
·       will serve as home for 30 sports clubs