Award Winner - May 2008
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More Space for Play

Stephen F. Austin State University Recreation Center
Nacogdoches, Texas

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

F&S Partners Inc. in Dallas

Size: 59,400 square feet

Project Cost: $24 million

Quick Tour:

Member services desk
Two basketball courts
Weight and fitness space
Two group exercise rooms/aerobics/multipurpose
Climbing wall with 13-foot bouldering cave
Three-lane track
Two racquetball courts
Health center
Meeting/training conference room
Large outdoor courtyard with two sand volleyball courts, two basketball courts, picnic tables and a grill area
16 outdoor lighted tennis courts
Heated outdoor leisure pool with three lap lanes, 270-foot lazy river, 13-foot diving well and spa with hydrotherapy bench

nterest in recreation programs at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, has doubled in the year that the school's new recreation center has been open, thanks to a "no waste of space" approach and a visually appealing facility.

"We have other facility managers come in to see our facility, and they are impressed with the economy of space," said Jeff Huskey, director of campus recreation. "This isn't the biggest building, but visitors say that we use the space that we have. It isn't dark and dingy like the typical weight room that most people picture."

The inviting environment includes a second-floor L-shaped running track that surrounds the aerobics room and racquetball court and has a view overlooking the lower level of the facility when not adjacent to a workout area. Other spaces around the second-floor track are filled with punching bags, free weights and additional cardio equipment to create more secluded workout spaces for those looking for more privacy. Other amenities include a climbing wall, two basketball courts, weight and fitness space, a lounge, and a courtyard featuring two sand volleyball courts and a picnic and grill area. Wide open spaces with large expanses of glass throughout the center and clear glass clerestory windows in the gymnasium allow for spacious outdoor views and reduce energy consumption.

Innovative to the building is the walker duct underneath the rubber flooring. The duct houses power and data wiring that can be easily moved along the duct. This makes moving power equipment easier due to not having to pull up the floor.

The new facility boasts nearly 60,000 square feet of activity space, multiplying the possibilities for program offerings by 100 times. According to Huskey, near the end of the first year that the center has been open, students participating in recreation activities increased from 132,000 to 232,000, and he expects that number to jump to 300,000 by the end of the first 12 months. The center replaces the former facility that was only 1,600 square feet, had only one functioning treadmill, one pair of dumbbells, one weekly step class and was shared by the athletics department.

One major improvement for students is the new swimming pool and aquatics area. The new outdoor heated leisure pool replaced the previous 70-year-old outdoor pool. The aquatic area boasts three lap lanes, a 270-foot lazy river, a 13-foot diving well and spa seats with a hydrotherapy bench. Shade structures are positioned around the pool to shade the courtyard and divide the pool area and activity courtyard.

According to Huskey, project architects, F & S Partners, have answered the challenge to allow for appropriate lighting for the pool courtyard which operates year round.

"The architects did a great job designing the area around the pool by determining the best ways to maximize lighting on the deck," Huskey said. "There is plenty of lighting that shines on the deck in the morning and afternoon, all the way until dark."


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

Great visual connectivity to major activity spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

Janet Jordan

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Landscape Architect:

Kendall Landscape Architecture

Aquatic Design:


Structural Engineer:


Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer:

Friberg Associates

Civil Engineer:

BarWin Consultants

General Contractor:

J.E. Kingham Construction

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