Award Winner - May 2008
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A Fit Campus

Wellness & Recreational Complex, The University of Texas-Pan American
Edinburg, Texas

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

F&S Partners Inc. in Dallas

Size: 95,000 square feet

Project Cost: $26.2 million

Quick Tour:

Multi-activity court gymnasium
10,000 square feet of weights and cardio equipment
Aerobic studios with digital sound
Basketball courts
Racquetball courts
Walking/jogging track
34-foot climbing wall
Modern lounge spaces
Administrative offices
Outdoor leisure pool with fountain, spa and lazy river
Basketball and sand volleyball courts
Outdoor tennis

y having fitness programs that were centered in an academic building and only available to students 18 hours a week, the University of Texas-Pan American hardly had a fitness facility to be proud of. Today, the university stands tall with a facility that is a central hub of the campus and a focal point of the community.

The university's new Wellness & Recreational Sports Complex is a huge leap forward for the fitness program—a 95,000-square-foot building home to a gymnasium, lounge spaces with wireless Internet service, an outdoor leisure pool with a fountain spa and lazy river, basketball and sand volleyball courts, tennis and racquetball courts, a jogging track, a 34-foot climbing wall and 10,000 square feet of space for weights and cardio equipment. University staff, whose previous offices were in an apartment in student housing, now have new offices in the center with brand-new equipment.

According to Jim Watson, Ph.D., director of campus recreation, by having a new facility open for 101 hours during seven days of the week, students can take better advantage of their educational experience.

"There is increased student involvement on campus, and this is an opportunity for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom," Watson said. "Now with students being employed in the center that only takes that level of application a step above," Watson added.

Watson also said the new facility benefits the university community as a whole by being a place where students can be more connected. Students can converge in common areas to study alone or in a group, broadening their social experience by being connected to their peers.

"The center gives students a reason to spend a longer day on campus instead of just going to class and leaving," Watson said.

The building, designed by F&S Partners, was constructed using a combination of steel and load-bearing masonry. The exterior of the facility is filled with windows that allow for a panoramic view of the campus and surroundings, bright colors, arched openings and patterned masonry walls that are created through plane changes.

The interior features wide open spaces that allow most activities to be seen from any location in the building. Watson said that when someone walks into the facility, they get a feeling of openness and not the feeling you get when walking into a tightly spaced gym clustered with hard bodies.

"You can walk into the building and feel laid back," Watson said. "Three sides are open to the outside through the glass so that you can feel as though you are still part of the campus while on the inside."

Watson added that more additions are on the way, like a juice bar and summer camp program that teaches children leisure activities as well as math, science and reading components—all slated for addition during the summer of 2008.


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

The experience of the walkers and runners must be very exciting at UTPA.

Steve Blackburn

Beautiful inside.

Nancy Freedman

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S


The Office of Christopher Miller


Aquatic Design Group

Structural/Civil Engineer:


Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer:

Blum Consulting

Audio-Visual Consultant:

AppliedTech Group

General Contractor:

D. Wilson Construction Co.

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