“Students are going to have access to the type of equipment professional teams use,” said Joe Royer, AU director of facilities. “For a college of our size, it is very unique to have the type of equipment that will be in our sports medicine and athletic training areas. We will have hydrotherapy equipment that you see in NFL training rooms.”
No detail was overlooked on the 133,000 square-foot building housing the departments of physical education, athletic training and athletics. The university has equipped the building with $600,000 worth of the latest instructional athletic equipment.”
Students, faculty and staff can participate on four regulation basketball courts, watch indoor track events on a regulation 200-meter track or take a relaxing stroll on an elevated track. The elevated track overlooks the main floor of the 77,000-square-foot multipurpose fieldhouse. The fieldhouse also has the capacity to seat approximately 5,000 people.
“Originally we had planned the fieldhouse to be half the size it is now,” said Ron Moore, senior vice president of Anderson University. “But, we wanted it for the students, and if we had an event, like a track meet, we wanted students to have enough space to still use the facility.”
According to Royer, national statistics indicate that 80 percent of a campus community will use a wellness center daily.
The center connects existing structures of O.C. Lewis Gymnasium and Bennett Natatorium, giving the entire complex a total of 195,000 square feet.
“We have been approached already about the community wanting to use the wellness center,” said Moore. “For the first year, it will be used exclusively for students, faculty and staff. We want them to have plenty of opportunities to appreciate this facility. In time, the facility might be used for special community events with the university having first priority.”
Three years ago, the university relocated the campus tennis courts, previously behind the Sports Medicine and Health Services annex, to the northeast side of the gymnasium parking lot in preparation for the construction of the center in 2001. K.R. Montgomery and Associates, Anderson, and RDG Bussard Dikis of Des Moines , Iowa, designed the center. W.R. Dunkin and Sons of Anderson managed the construction.
Moore said the university considered a new wellness center in 1995, but a formal fund-raising committee wasn’t formed until 1999.
“There was a lot of campus support for the project because the physical education folks were the last in line for improvements, “ said Moore.
--Writer David Nelson is the business editor for the Anderson Herald-Bulletin.