A 54-foot climbing wall. Seven basketball courts. A mat room for combative arts. And a roof patio for outdoor classes and events.

These are just a few reasons why UNCG’s new student recreation center, set to open in August, isn’t your average college gym. Instead, it’s a sleek, sustainable, 216,000-square-foot space designed to strengthen Spartans and bring the campus community together.

The vision for a new recreation center started in 2007 when the UNCG Campus Recreation staff conducted an internal study and audit of the university’s recreation facilities.

“We were woefully undersized,” said Dr. Jill Beville, director of Campus Recreation. “We couldn’t accommodate the types of activities and programs that were becoming popular among our students.”

UNCG hired an outside firm to learn more about what students would want in a new recreation center. The results were consistent with the internal audit, and UNCG began to move forward with building a new facility.

Why is campus recreation such an integral part of the campus community? According to Beville, physical fitness is vital to the overall wellbeing of students.

“Research shows that students who are physically active tend to engage in the community, get a better night’s sleep, have less stress and perform better academically,” she said. “They feel connected to the campus, so they’re more likely to stay.”

 A rendering of the new natatorium.

The natatorium will include a lap pool, a leisure pool and an exterior deck.

The new facility, which is being built to LEED Silver standards, is designed to offer a wide range of opportunities for students. New features include a fitness studio akin to a CrossFit gym, a games and table tennis area, a state-of-the-art natatorium and a multi-activity court (with rubber flooring) where students can play basketball, indoor soccer, dodgeball and floor hockey, among other sports. The space will also allow for additional intramural leagues.

One of the most impressive features is the new climbing wall, which has more than 20 climbing lanes (compared to the current wall’s seven lanes) as well as an independent bouldering wall.

A rendering of the new indoor climbing wall.

The 54-foot indoor climbing wall will provide new and challenging routes for climbers of all skill levels.

“The colors and features of the wall are similar to what you see at climbing sites at Pilot Mountain State Park, which has been our backyard climbing destination for many years,” said Mike Ackerman, assistant director of UNCG Outdoor Adventures. “It’s cool to bring a piece of our beloved climbing site to an indoor setting.”

The new center has already drawn national attention. In September, UNCG was named a winner of the 2015 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, a national recognition given to the top five healthiest college campuses. The facility was cited as one of the nation’s most innovative efforts to create healthy college communities.

The facility, which is being paid for by student fees, is expected to double the number of student campus recreation jobs, putting approximately $1 million back in the hands of students in the form of wages each year.

A small parking lot located next to the building will serve as an “A” lot for faculty and staff between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Alumni with a rec center membership will also be granted access to the lot. After 5 p.m., all members, including students, will be able to park in the lot. However, Campus Recreation is encouraging members to walk, ride a bike or use the Spartan Chariot instead of driving.

Looking ahead, Beville is excited about the flexibility and the new programming opportunities that the new space will provide.

“It’s going to be a clean, functional facility. We’ll be able to adapt to student needs because we have these large, open spaces,” she said. “Students will be hard-pressed to find a school in this region that has a more attractive campus recreation facility.”

For more information about the center, visit recwell.uncg.edu/facilities.


Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations
Renderings provided by RDG Planning & Design and Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects, PA