GALLERY: Campus Rec makes debut

After nearly four years of planning, dreams have come to life for NKU as they unveil a 169,314 square foot, completely renovated and expanded Campus Recreation Center.

“You’d be very hard pressed to find anything in here that’s anything like the old building,” Matt Hackett, director of campus recreation, said. “When it’s finished, and it will be finished here soon, it will be one of the premiere facilities in the country.”

More than double its previous size, the rec center now features multiple pools, three multi-purpose studios, two racquetball courts, five basketball courts, an expanded weight room, study areas and more.

The facility’s 375,000-gallon pool has eight lap lanes, a shallow water area, a hot water area and a deep water diving well complete with two diving boards and a climbing feature. The pool area also has separate locker rooms for accessibility.  

The three multi-purpose studios will facilitate about 30 classes each week, according to Hackett.

Hackett also explained that construction crews removed all of the existing walls and reconfigured the space. The old pool was filled in, and it will now serve as a multi-activity court with a rubberized surface so that it can be used for activities from indoor soccer to rollerblading.

The surrounding outdoor areas of the recreation center have also been improved. A ropes course will be installed in the near future between the rec center and the baseball field. There are also several covered outdoor activity spaces and a sand volleyball court that is still under construction.  

Cardio equipment and weights are positioned near tall glass windows, providing users with a spectacular view of campus and a glimpse of downtown Cincinnati. The new facility has 677 windows, a vast difference from the seven windows in the previous rec center.

While the new recreation center supports campus-wide health and wellness, it also promotes academic excellence. The facility features several study areas, complete with spacious tables and multiple electric outlets to meet the academic needs of students.

Hackett says one of the study rooms can seat up to 114 people. Equipped with smart technology, the room could be used for classes or student organizations.

A resolution passed last year by the Student Government Association that called for the  installation of gender-inclusive restrooms in every academic and commonly used building. In congruence with this resolution and the existing gender-inclusive restrooms in the Welcome Center, Honors House and Griffin Hall, the recreation center boasts gender-inclusive restrooms and changing facilities.

Hackett says that he wants people to understand that it’s more than just a gym.

“I hope students have a very broad definition of what multi-purpose is,” Hackett said. “This is a student’s facility, so we’ll do whatever students want to do here… I’m sure the students will find a lot of different uses for what they want their building to be.”