Award Winner - May 2010
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Beimdiek Recreation Center

Joplin, Missouri

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

RDG Planning & Design in Des Moines, Iowa

Size: Addition: 60,000 square feet;
Renovation: 53,400 square feet

Project Cost: $14 million

Quick Tour:

Recreation Center:

  • 8,000-square-foot fitness & weights space
  • 3-court recreational gymnasium
  • Three-lane jogging/walking track
  • Two aerobics rooms
  • Wellness center/assessment suite
  • Locker rooms
  • Recreation administration offices
  • Conference/instruction room
  • Fitness patio

Student Health Center, including exam rooms, procedure room, nurses station and laboratory

Student Union, including retail bookstore, book rental bookstore/processing area, grand ballroom, 150-seat theater, VP student life offices, meeting rooms and Board of Governors boardroom


onstructed within a strict budget helped along by a $1 million gift from the late George S. Beimdiek, a leading businessman and insurance professional in Southwest Missouri, the new 60,000-square-foot addition and 53,400-square-foot renovation to the existing Billingsly Student Center at Missouri Southern State University is nothing less than a stunning transformation.

The new facility features the Beimdiek Recreation Center along with a Student Health Center and a Student Union, and acts as a gateway for students to socialize with others and take care of all their health and activity needs on campus.

The recreation center portion of the building features a three-court recreation gymnasium, elevated jogging track, two 4,000-square-foot fitness areas with free weights and cardio and weight machines, two studios for fitness classes, a fitness testing center, locker rooms and a 150-seat theater-auditorium.

Opened in October 2009, the new facility sets the standard for subsequent construction on campus, while fitting in with the existing campus context.

According to Rob Yust, assistant vice president for business affairs at the university, the new recreation center is "…going to be a showcase when they bring potential students to campus. It will be the first stop because it is a very attractive facility."

The addition and renovation bring new life to what was formerly a tired and dated structure. With its striking vertical lines without and undulating curves inside, the facility invites users in, and then offers them views of the activity taking place all along the main street causeway.

The existing student center provided a defined and dominant entrance that was an icon for the campus. This has not changed, though the entrance has been made even more inviting.

Once inside, users can find a diverse array of activities, from a workout in the fitness area to shopping for the latest book requirements in the campus bookstore. And as they circulate through the facility's areas, users can view activities taking place in adjacent spaces. But the view is not limited to the indoors. From the upper-level fitness area, for example, exercisers can look out across a tree-lined vista as they work out.

The wholly renovated and completely expanded Billingsly Student Center has a whole new life. With its many campus programs and student-oriented spaces, it serves multiple masters successfully.

"It is an amazing facility and a real focal point for campus life," said Darren Fullerton, director of student life and dean of students.


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

"Integrates well with the existing architecture of the student center."

Frank Beans

"Very nice renovation and blend of new construction; inviting without being 'institutional' looking."

Susan Wallover

"Nice continuity in matching new materials to older construction."

Dennis Berkshire

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Landscape Architect: RDG Planning & Design

Lighting Designer: RDG Planning & Design

Structural Consultant: Charles Saul Engineering Inc.

MEP Consultant: FSC MEP Engineers LLC

Cost Consultant: Stecker-Harmsen

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