10 Most Impressive College Gyms and Rec Centers

Gyms have come a long way since I was in college. No longer a designless space with a hodgepodge of exercise equipment, today’s college gyms are state of the art, with rock climbing, sand volleyball, indoor tracks, and even whirlpools and saunas (oh my!). Many are eco-friendly with modern designs that look straight out of Dwell magazine. For the top of the top, I turned to Bestvalueschools.com who recently ranked the best based on LEED rating, design, fitness amenities and WOW! Factor… and you will be wowed

University of Arizona Campus Recreation Center

It earned a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating available

It earned a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating available

The most decorated of student rec centers in the nation is the University of Arizona’s 108,000 sq. ft. facility. In addition to the typical fitness amenities are provisions for sand volleyball and bouldering. It earned a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating available. It stands alone as the only LEED Platinum facility in our list.

Total points: 13

  • LEED Platinum: 3
  • Major design award: 4
  • Regional design award: 4
  • Sports specific award: 1
  • “Wow” factor: 1 (bouldering)

Architect: Sasaki
Cost: $22.7 million
Enrollment: 40,233
Square Feet: 54,000 (expansion only); 108,000 total (2.7 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certification: Platinum

Virginia Commonwealth University Cary Street Gym

virginia-commonwealth

this college gym has it all – two heated pools, a water slide, a rock climbing and bouldering/caving wall

Cary Street Gym features two heated pools, a water slide, a multi-person whirlpool spa, a rock climbing and bouldering/caving wall, an 18,000-square-foot cardio/weight center, a four-court gymnasium, a three-lane indoor running track and an activity center with indoor turf. The winner of several major national design awards also carries a LEED Silver rating.

Total points: 12

  • LEED Silver: 2
  • “Wow” factor: 1 (climbing wall, water slide)
  • Major design award: 8
  • Sports specific award: 1

Architect: Moseley Architects; Smith McClain
Enrollment: 31,752
Square Feet: 127,600 (4 sq. ft. per student)
LEED Certification: Silver

Colorado State University Student Recreation Center

The aquatics center alone has a lazy river, a climbing wall, and an on-deck sauna and steam room

The aquatics center alone has a lazy river, a climbing wall, and an on-deck sauna and steam room

This LEED Gold rated facility has two 38-foot-tall bridged climbing towers, an outdoor bouldering rock, a martial arts space, a multipurpose activity court, special-needs spaces, consultation rooms for personal trainers and physical therapists, a massage room and an aquatics center with a four-lane lap pool, a 35-person spa, a lazy river, a climbing wall, a shallow area for basketball and volleyball, and an on-deck sauna and steam room.

Total points: 10

  • LEED Gold: 2
  • Major design award: 6
  • Sports specific award: 1
  • “Wow” factor: 1

Architect: Hastings & Chivetta Architects; Counsilman-Hunsaker (Aquatic Design Engineer)
Cost: $28 million
Enrollment: 26,235
Square Feet: 174,300 (6.6 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certification: Gold

California State University, Northridge Student Recreation Center

Two outdoor pools and a 40-foot rock climbing wall

Two outdoor pools and a 40-foot rock climbing wall

Two outdoor pools and a 40-foot rock climbing wall set this facility apart. This $41 million LEED Silver rated project isn’t among the biggest on our list, but it makes up for this in its range of functional offerings and outstanding design aesthetics.

Total points: 9

  • LEED Gold: 2
  • Regional or local design award: 5
  • Sports specific award: 1
  • “Wow” factor: 1 (climbing wall)

Architect: LPA Inc.
Cost: $41 million
Enrollment: 36,070
Square Feet: 120,000 (3.3 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2011
LEED Certification: Gold

Ohio State University Recreation & Physical Activity Center (RPAC)

OSU earned the title of #1 fittest college in America

OSU earned the title of #1 fittest college in America

Thanks in part to the strength of this exceptional facility, OSU earned the title of #1 fittest college in America, as rated by mensfitness.com. It also ranked among Fitbie.com’s fittest colleges in America, where it was noted for its out-of-the-box fitness opportunities.

Total points: 8

  • Major design award: 4
  • Sports specific award: 3
  • 8+ sq. ft. per student: 1

Architect: Moody Nolan Ltd., Inc.
Design Architect: Antoine Predock
Cost: $140 Million
Completed: 2007
Enrollment: 63,964
Square Feet: 569,459 (8.9 sq. ft. per student)

Illinois State University Student Fitness Center

Winner of "Outstanding Sports Facilities" and "Architectural Showcase"

Winner of “Outstanding Sports Facilities” and
“Architectural Showcase”

Boasting a generous amount of space per student, this $49.6 million, PSA-Dewberry designed facility was completed in 2010 and has won awards from American School and University magazine, Athletic Business magazine, and Recreation Management magazine.

Total points: 8

  • Major design award: 6
  • Sports specific award: 1
  • 8+ sq. ft. per student: 1

Architect: PSA-Dewberry
Cost: $49.6 million
Enrollment: 20,502
Square Feet: 180,000 (8.8 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certification: n/a

University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

Features zero-depth entry, underwater benches, vortex and current channel

Features zero-depth entry, underwater benches, vortex and current channel

The aquatic center is the highlight of this award-winning $53 million facility. A 4,100 sq. ft. recreation pool with zero-depth entry, underwater benches, vortex, and current channel are just a few of the striking features. It was completed in 2010.

Total points: 7

  • Major design award: 4 (2+2)
  • Regional or local design award: 1
  • Sports-specific award: 1
  • “Wow” factor: 1 (rock climbing, pool complex)

Architect: RDG Planning & Design
Cost: $53 million
Enrollment: 31,065
Square Feet: 215,000 (6.92 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certification: n/a

California State University, Long Beach Recreation and Wellness Center

Features rock climbing wall, three-court gym and swimming pool

Features rock climbing wall, three-court gym and swimming pool

The rock climbing wall, three-court gym, and swimming pool and spa are highlights of the $70 million center at Cal State, Long Beach. The LEED Gold rated facility has also received its share of major design awards, including one from the Society of American Registered Architects.

Total points: 7

  • LEED Gold: 2
  • Major design award: 4 (2+2)
  • “Wow” factor: 1 (rock climbing wall)

Architect: Cannon Design
Cost: $70 million
Enrollment: 34,870
Square Feet: 126,500 (3.6 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certifications: Gold

University of Maine New Balance Student Recreation Center

Students can rent skis and snowshoes and access trails directly

Students can rent skis and snowshoes and access trails directly

From this award-winning, LEED Silver rated recreation center, students can rent skis and snowshoes and access trails directly. They can also enjoy the leisure pool that incorporates two 25-yard lap lanes, hot-water-jet bench seating, and a co-ed sauna. The fitness area includes 140 pieces of cardio and weight equipment.

Total points: 6

  • LEED Silver: 1
  • Design awards: 4
  • Sports-specific awards: 1

Architect: Cannon Design
Cost: $25 million
Enrollment: 10,901
Square Feet: 87,000 (7.98 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2010
LEED Certification: Silver

Morehead State University Recreation and Wellness Center

Features swimming pool with sun deck, walking track, racquetball courts and three basketball courts

Features swimming pool with sun deck, walking track, racquetball courts and three basketball courts

This LEED Silver rated facility boasts a swimming pool with sun deck, walking track, racquetball courts and three basketball courts. It also won Outstanding Sports Facilities award from Recreation Management magazine in 2012, and was featured in Athletic Business’s Architectural Showcase.

Total points: 6

  • LEED Silver: 2
  • Major design award: 2
  • Sports facility: 1
  • 8+ sq. ft. per student: 1

Architect: Hastings & Chivetta Architects
Cost: $24 million
Enrollment: 11,172
Square Feet: 100,000 (9 sq. ft. per student)
Completed: 2011
LEED Certification: Silver

[Photo credit: Athletic Business]

To see the next 10 best, go to Bestvalueschools.com

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.