Facility Focus (Sports, Fitness, Wellness Centers)

University of Nebraska at Kearney: Wellness Center

University of Nebraska at Kearney: Wellness Center

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The new Wellness Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney rebrands wellness on campus, creating an inviting hub for student fitness and expanding the university’s leading-edge kinesiology research. Inspired by the school’s mission statement of “We are Difference Makers,” the LEO A DALY design team sought to promote self-discovery, sportsmanship, learning and an appreciation for personal wellness through architecture and interior design.

The two-story, $6.5 million addition moves the university’s workout facilities and human performance lab from landlocked isolation in the middle of the gym to a prominent place on the campus mall. The exterior “frame” concept functions as both advertisement and subtle metaphor, positioning wellness as a public, social activity. At night, the curved curtain wall glows as a beacon for campus wellness.

The sun-filled first floor encourages a lifestyle of fitness, favoring noncompetitive, group activities and providing space for socialization. Cardio takes center stage, separated from strength-training equipment. Three group-training rooms enable a robust schedule of yoga, Zumba and other workout classes. A 30-foot climbing wall offers an exciting challenge, and touchdown spaces, flexible block furniture and a juice bar enhance the social atmosphere.

“It’s laid out as a gathering place,” says Martin Lane, AIA, project manager with LEO A DALY. “It’s not just a place you work out; it’s a place you want to meet up with a friend.”

The second floor houses the Human Activity and Wellness Lab, a fast-growing, nationally recognized health science program distinctive for its community-centered outreach and wellness intervention. Dedicated workout equipment, a demonstration kitchen and specialized exam rooms allow the Kinesiology and Sport Sciences department to work with community members in groups, offer cooking and wellness classes and conduct obesity research.

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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