Award Winner - May 2007
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A Path Through Wellness

University of Dayton RecPlex
Dayton, Ohio

S U B M I T T E D    B Y:

Hastings & Chivetta Architects Inc. in St. Louis, Mo.

Size: 125,000 square feet

Project Cost: $20.4 million

Quick Tour:

Aquatic Center with eight-lane competition pool, diving well, vortex leisure pool, large spa and wet classroom
Four-court recreation gymnasium
Two-court multi-activity gymnasium
1/8-mile suspended running track
Weight room
Fitness center
30-foot climbing wall
Men's and women's locker rooms, family changing area
Welcome/Control desk
Juice bar ("The Chill")
Administrative offices

As a Catholic university in the Marianist tradition, the University of Dayton is committed to the total well-being of its students. Providing wholesome recreational outlets and fitness opportunities is one way the university helps develop students' social, psychological, physical and spiritual well-being. And to help the university in this mission, the new Fitness & Recreation Complex, also known as the RecPlex, offers myriad opportunities for fitness, fun and sport.

Replacing a 30-year old recreation facility, the new RecPlex allows the University of Dayton to adapt to the growing needs of its student body.

"We have a huge intramural program here—there's over 50 teams and clubs," said Beth Keyes, executive director of facilities management for the University of Dayton. "The old facility just wasn't sized adequately."

Designing the RecPlex presented some unique challenges with control and pass-through issues.

"The site it was placed on was somewhat challenging in the fact that we were putting this building literally in the middle of where students walk to get from one part of campus to another," Keyes explained.

Hastings & Chivetta, the design firm that handled the project, dealt with the challenge by dividing the facility with a mezzanine ramp that allows students to walk through without entering controlled areas.

"You can walk through the building uncontrolled to get from one end to the other. We used it as a 'main street' to be able to view all the activities that are going on—the gym, the pool, the rock-climbing wall, the fitness center," said Mark Keane, design architect with Hastings & Chivetta. "The school liked that because it's kind of an advertiser for fitness."

Windows and skylights allow natural light to penetrate deep into the building, and the open central spine allows everyone who passes through—from students on their way to class to prospective students and their families on a campus tour—to view the activities going on within.

"There's a lot of interior glass," Keyes said. "You can hear the activities. For recruitment tours, you can walk in the lobby and up this ramp out of the building and see every component of the facility."

For students who plan to stick around for some recreation, instead of just passing through, there are plenty of activities to choose from. The first floor features a 28,800-square-foot, four-court gymnasium with electronic scoreboards for all courts, as well as three racquetball courts, with one reserved for squash and Wallyball.

The aquatic center includes a 25-yard, eight-lane competition pool, 12-foot diving well and 35-foot-diameter vortex leisure pool. There's also an eight-person spa.

Also on the first floor is a 30-foot climbing wall, Multi-Activity Courts (MAC) with synthetic surface and dasherboard system, "The Chill" juice bar, classrooms, a group fitness studio, locker rooms and a family changing area. Two more group fitness studios, along with administrative offices, can be found on the mezzanine.

The second floor features a 10,000-square-foot fitness center with 60 pieces of cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights. A wellness assessment office is also located on this floor, offering personal training and massage therapy. The facility also includes an elevated 1/8-mile track with rubberized surface.

Keyes said students love the facility, which is open and in use 18 hours a day.

"In the end, it was really the student leadership and their willingness to fund the facility that made the project a success," she said. "It was all financed with student fees."

"It adds to the fees," Keane added, "but it's a great way to get them involved in a lifestyle that they can live with for the rest of their lives."


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

Sloped student circulation connection through the building is an engaging element and a nice surprise in an otherwise traditional facility.

Troy Sherrard

Great project! Well-executed plan, tight and efficient, yet spatially interesting. Simple and straightforward with gentle indoor lighting, attention to indoor and outdoor masonry coursing—indoor pool that feels like it's outdoors. Interiors are active and enjoyable to walk through.

Richard Fawell

The design contextually marries into this traditional campus.

William Yarger

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Associate Architects:

Edge & Tinney Architects

Structural Engineer:

Shell & Meyer Associates

Mechanical Engineer:

Heapy Engineering LLC

Civil Engineer:

LJB Inc.

Aquatics Consultant:


Acoustical Consultant:

Acoustical Design Group

Construction Manager:

Messer Construction Company

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