Student Recreation Center renovation garners national recognition


Celebrating BGSU’s Outstanding Sports Facilities Award are Stephen Kampf, director of Recreation and Wellness, and Collaborative architects Keith Russeau (left) and David Serra.

When the Student Recreation Center reopened on Aug. 14, 2014, after a year of renovations, students were delighted with the fresh new spaces, sunny lobby, new equipment and additional facilities. Now the building has been recognized with the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Outstanding Sports Facilities Award. The award was presented jointly to BGSU Recreation and Wellness and Toledo architects The Collaborative Inc. at the NIRSA Annual Conference and Recreational Sports Expo in Kissimmee, Fla., earlier this month.

The NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards recognize the innovative designs of new, renovated or expanded collegiate recreational facilities of NIRSA member institutions. Increasingly, research is linking robust recreational programs, facilities and services with student success and satisfaction in higher education. State-of-the art facilities have demonstrated their capacity to greatly enhance the overall student experience, thereby boosting recruitment and improving retention.

The annual awards honor facilities that demonstrate excellence in a number of critical areas, including architectural design, functionality and how well the facility meets its intended purpose. Winning facilities exemplify the institution’s commitment to providing the higher education experience desired and valued by students and are considered a standard by which other collegiate recreational facilities should be measured, and from which others can benefit. BGSU’s Recreation Center is featured on the NIRSA website.

Students and community members alike are benefiting as a result of the $14.8 million renovation, which was guided in part by their input.

In addition to the facility award, BGSU took two, third-place NIRSA awards, in the Student Digital Publication and the Website Design categories.

Preparations for the renovation of the Student Recreation Center in 2013 prompted a project to document the history of the center and the University through artifacts, stories and other documents. That project, a digital timeline, was recognized in the Student Digital Publication award.

When the Recreation and Wellness staff was going through the building’s basement in preparation for work to begin, they discovered boxes in a storage room.

“We found funny pictures of staff from the past, artifacts from anniversary celebrations, old T-shirts, complete photo albums, and other items including meeting minutes, event agendas, programs, and numerous random documents and images,” wrote graduate student Erica Pax, the researcher and designer of the presentation. “After having a good laugh, Recreation and Wellness marketing staff and students decided to create something that would provide a long-term place where stories about the history of the department could be cataloged for readers to enjoy for years to come, and on which we can build as new research is uncovered and history is continuously created. The target audience includes current BGSU students, faculty and staff, and community members and is also designed for alumni as a place where they can contribute to our ever-growing history and remember their time at BGSU as employees or participants in recreation programming.”

Pax organized the boxes of items found at the Student Recreation Center into categories based on program and year, choosing the most significant individuals and events for inclusion. She talked with long-term staff who knew much of the facility history, and did her own additional research through the library and online. She penned the stories, compiling and synthesizing information to create each one, edited the photos, and outlined the timeline.

The timeline is also providing opportunities for two practicum students in journalism, public relations and communications departments to contribute to the project.

Recreation and Wellness also took the opportunity to redesign its website when the overall University site was being redone in 2014. Virtually every page on the site was made over and improved, and the result earned recognition from NIRSA.