Georgia Southern University Recreation Activity Center Addition
"We had talked about expansion at that time and expected it would be a 50- to 60,000-square-foot expansion," said Steve DeHekker, project manager with Hastings & Chivetta, who also designed the new addition. "This expansion more than doubled that. It was almost a 200 percent increase in space."
Now weighing in at 210,000 square feet, the expanded facility is a response to a fast-growing student population but one that quickly embraced the original facility, the demand for which was huge.
"The original facility, like most of these facilities, increased demand itself because not only was there a shortage of space, but once the new facility opened, it was so popular, the demand increased just because of the facility and the quality of space," DeHekker said.
According to DeHekker, Georgia Southern wanted space that not only integrated well with the existing building, but that also would enhance the overall wellness programs and allow the university to respond to trends and cutting-edge student recreation programs as well as enhance student recruitment and retention. Clearly students were on board with the facility as the funding came through increased student fees.
One big change to the facility was the relocation of the entry. By relocating the entry, the rest of the space could be reorganized and integrated, as well as allow participants to experience the pools, fitness center and huge main lobby upon entry to the building. Colors in the old facility were updated to be consistent with the new space and floor finishes were carried on through the main concourse.
In addition to the facility upgrades and expansion, the entire site was developed with a major expansion to the parking, upgrades to existing softball fields, additional club fields, sand volleyball, a general use pavilion and a trail. "In addition to the enclosed space, there was an extensive outdoor program," DeHekker said.
Details were important to the university, such as the research that shows that novices to climbing won't engage in the activity if the climbing wall is located in a very visible area. However, with a climbing wall, you certainly want to showcase that feature. To meet both those goals, the climbing wall is located on a front corner of the building and encased in glass so it's very visible and striking upon approach to the building but it's "secluded enough so that you can use it and not feel like you're being watched by everyone else in the facility," DeHekker said.