Award Winner - May 2013
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University of Central Missouri Student Recreation & Wellness Center

Warrensburg, Missouri

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Gould Evans in Kansas City, Mo.

Size: 145,951 square feet

Project Cost: $35 million

Quick Tour:

  • Classrooms
  • Faculty offices
  • Labs
  • Caf√©
  • Lounge area
  • Faculty lockers
  • Group exercise rooms
  • Basketball courts
  • Walk/jog track
  • Cardio/circuit equipment
  • Free weight room
  • Fitness mezzanine
  • Climbing wall / bouldering wall
  • Outdoor Equipment rental storage
  • Catering kitchen
  • Student lockers
  • Recreation offices
  • Athletics training facility

Renovation of Morrow Garrison and construction of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on the University of Central Missouri campus in Warrensburg is arguably the campus's most significant construction project in the past 100 years. Originally planned as two separate projects for academics and student recreation, the vision of the architectural firm brought the projects into a single, shared facility. The results have exceeded all expectations, and the facility has profoundly affected campus life and university operations.

On one level, the combination of curricular and co-curricular programs has immense implications for student learning. On another level, the facility has become the place to engage in recreation for students, faculty and staff.

After watching recreation space dwindle for decades, students had rallied for the creation of a new focal point on campus and approved fees to construct a new recreation center. This coincided with state funding to renovate the Morrow/Garrison complex as the new home for the university's growing Department of Health and Human Performance. But neither project was adequately funded.

In response, the design team encouraged leaders of both programs to explore the potential of sharing facilities. Many program spaces were identified that could be shared, including practice courts, fitness areas, wellness classrooms and locker rooms. Sharing space also provided an opportunity to create a significant new campus commons.

Located in the heart of campus, the facility fronts a major campus quadrangle on the west and a State Highway to the east. The design builds on the notion of blending programs by blending new construction with the historic stone buildings. The existing north gymnasium was renovated for new academic spaces, offices and a wellness center. The student recreation and fitness center utilizes a frugal 1960s era gym addition to the south and expands to the east with a new addition. The programs come together at the central Morrow gymnasium, providing a central entrance commons from the academic quads to the west and student housing communities to the east. The Morrow gym is expanded with a new fitness mezzanine, and the adjacent natatorium to the east has been converted into a juice and coffee bar.

The performance of the historic stone building walls was upgraded with spray foam insulation and new thermally broken windows. Windows that had been covered over in the Morrow gym were reopened and new clerestory windows were introduced to the south gym. Wood flooring in the north gym was preserved and reused, while the south gym's wood flooring was recycled into cladding for the entrance desk and fitness center offices.

The new addition forms a new campus green on the east side of the building. The addition takes advantage of its northern exposure with a sleek curtainwall, washing the main fitness floor with natural light while putting fitness on display to the new green.

Sustainable features are included throughout the building, with two being significant contributors to its LEED gold status. A geothermal field underneath the campus green allows the building to perform with half the energy usage of a normal university building. And the original pool, deemed obsolete as a fitness amenity, was converted to a rainwater cistern, storing roof drainage that is then used in irrigating the surrounding landscape.


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

"Very nice melding of existing historic elements with new addition. Detailing is exceptional."

Matt Freeby

"The simple elegance of the exterior and interior integration along with the way the facility looks when it's illuminated at night, provides an architectural expression of art for recreational use."

Tom Poulos

"A wonderful blend of contemporary form and materials with historic buildings, combining the appropriate scale and rhythm."

Greg Houston

"Clever re-use of historic buildings. Great integration of new with old."

Katie Barnes

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Architect: Gould Evans

Landscape Architect: Gould Evans

Graphic Design: Gould Evans

Programming Consultant: Brailsford & Dunlavey

MEP Engineer: Henderson Engineers

Structural Engineer: Bob D. Campbell

Civil Engineer: SK Design

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