Katy Johnson, Director
Completed in June 2016, the 36,070 sq. ft. new University Wellness and Recreation facility features a two-court gymnasium with suspended jogging/walking track, fitness/cardio areas, general locker rooms, a classroom, and a multipurpose room for group exercise. It supports the teaching and learning mission of the University by fostering student success and development.
Building Services, Offices and Points of Interest
Building Services, Offices and Points of Interest
- The facility was designed by JLG Architects and built by J.E. Dunn Construction.
- Funding was approved in the 2014 Minnesota Legislative Bonding Bill, which included a $10 million allocation for the Wellness Center at the Crookston campus, with an additional $5 million to be raised for the project through philanthropic efforts and/or from university funding sources, for a total of a $15 million project.
- The cardio and weight machines are primarily Life Fitness and Woodway brands, and free weights are the Life Fitness and Hammer Strength brands. These cutting-edge machines feature scanning codes that allow smart phones to utilize apps for fitness tracking and circuit training. Students can also download and track their cardiovascular workouts via the Internet.
- The flooring of the two-court gymnasium (first floor) and the running/walking track (second floor) is Mondo multipurpose flooring, which is a versatile, self-healing, and extremely durable flooring. It is not only suitable for a variety of activities, but also aids in shock absorption.
- The running/walking track was designed so that 10 laps equal one mile.
- The two-court gymnasium includes markings and equipment for activities including basketball, volleyball, tennis, futsal (indoor soccer), team handball, badminton, ping pong, boxing and MMA training, and indoor archery (ballistic curtains are used for this activity).
- The multipurpose room (first floor) features a sprung wooden floor as well as a Fitness-on-Demand video kiosk with an initial database of over 125 prerecorded exercise routines. The room is ideal for group activities such as yoga, aerobics, dance, Zumba, and other group fitness activities.
- Locker rooms (first floor)
- Classroom (first floor)
Learn more about the University Wellness and Recreation department.
A Living Learning Lab for Exercise Science & Wellness and Sport & Recreation Management Majors at UMC
- The entire facility can also be utilized as a laboratory for the exercise science & wellness major, the sport & recreation management major, and coaching minor on campus. This provides students in these academic programs with numerous opportunities to gain valuable hands-on educational experiences in facility management, exercise research, event management, intramural and recreational programming, group fitness and individual training, and coaching and officiating.
- The classroom, which is centered around UMC’s exercise science and wellness major, includes exercise physiology equipment. UMC students will have experiences to work with this equipment, which is typically available only to graduate students at other universities. Equipment includes:
- MicroFit – which offers a full spectrum of health and fitness analysis
- Cortex – a metabolic cart and portable unit for baseline aerobic fitness and metabolic analysis for Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET)
- BodPod – for basal metabolic rate calculation and body fat testing
- InBody – a bioelectrical impedance tester to analyze hydration levels and muscle/fat composition
Other Notable Features
- The Wellness Center features a solar panel array on the roof. This photovoltaic array is 18kw. It is estimated that the solar array might produce 6% to 10% of the building’s electricity consumption. The solar PV system should produce about 23,000 kWh/year—according to statistics that’s enough electricity to power two typical homes served by Otter Tail for a year.
- The purchase and installation was made possible by a 50 percent matching grant from Otter Tail Power Company. Estimates are that the array will pay for itself via cost savings in electricity in roughly 8 years. There is also an active single photovoltaic unit for educational purposes mounted at ground level on the south-side of the facility.
- The windows in the Wellness Center have a special fritted coating (made by silk screening ceramic dots onto the glass) that helps prevent bird injuries and also minimizes solar gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter months by reflecting ambient heat back into the building and reflecting some sunlight back out of the building.
- Photo images of prairie plants and flowers by photographer Bruce D. Flaig of Fertile, Minnesota, line the walking/running track on the second floor.
It may surprise some to know that thoughts of a modern wellness center on the campus of the U of M Crookston go back to master planning discussions held in the mid-1990s. At that time the campus had just undergone the transition to a four-year college, and expectations of growth as well as an assessment of building priorities were top of mind for campus officials. The first priority was a new student center followed by a wellness center.
Knutson Hall, the original campus gymnasium and recreation center was constructed in 1930. And in 1980 the Sports Center was added to that structure. The Sport Center featured new locker rooms, offices, racquetball courts, and the Lysaker Gymnasium. With the new Sargeant Student Center opening in 2005, thoughts turned to the next priority: a new wellness center.
In subsequent years three new campus residence halls were built—Centennial Hall in 2006, Evergreen Hall in 2009, and Heritage Hall in 2013. The number of resident students living on campus grew, and surveys of the student body indicated that a new wellness facility was repeatedly listed as a significant need for the campus. Students and campus officials worked with U of M system leaders to formalize plans and lobby legislators for a number of years until the project gained priority status.
There was significant celebration on campus in May 2014 when Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the 2014 Minnesota Legislative Bonding Bill, which included state funding for several projects for the University of Minnesota system, one of which was a $10 million allocation for a Wellness Center at the Crookston campus, with an additional $5 million to be raised for the project through philanthropic effort. The campus recently received a $1 million gift from Les and June Nielsen, which will allow the naming of the entrance/lobby area in memory of their son, Mitch Lien Nielsen.
A ceremonial ground breaking event was held last September, with a guest list that included University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, as well as several members of the U of M Board of Regents and the Minnesota Legislature. Planning continued through the winter with pre-design architects JLG Architects and Hastings + Chivetta Architects.
J.E. Dunn Construction was selected as the contractor, and JLG Architects designed the structure. Site preparation for the new Wellness Center began in the late spring of 2015 just west of the UMC Sports Center and near the main campus entrance. The facility was completed in June 2016, and it began being used by the student body in fall semester 2016. The 36,070 sq. ft. facility features a two-court gymnasium with suspended jogging/walking track, fitness/cardio areas, general locker rooms, a classroom, and a multipurpose room for group exercise.
The Wellness Center will help the campus meet enrollment targets by improving student recruitment and retention. Studies of these kinds of facilities indicate they have a positive impact on successful student persistence, grade point average, and graduation rate. The facility also is used as a laboratory for the exercise science and wellness major, the sport and recreation management major, and the coaching minor on campus, providing students numerous opportunities to gain valuable hands-on internship experiences in facility management, event management, intramural and recreational programming, group fitness and individual training, and coaching and officiating.