The University of Mississippi is scheduled next week to open a $32 million recreation facility that will significantly enhance the exercise and wellness services available to students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
The South Campus Recreation Center will provide nearly 100,000 square feet of workout space on the Oxford campus. It will have a large functional training zone, an indoor climbing wall, 25,000 square feet of fitness space, fitness studios, basketball courts, a multiactivity court and other amenities.
The center will officially open Aug. 26 and will offer services for wellness education, outdoor programming and personal training. Two fields for intramural sports, sport clubs and informal recreation will be adjacent to the facility.
“We really needed to meet the demand of our growing student population, and I think the new features are going to draw some community folks just because there will be nothing like this in Oxford,” says Peter Tulchinsky, director of campus recreation. “The impact that recreation facilities have on recruitment and retention of students is huge."
Since the university’s existing recreation center, the Turner Center, opened in 1983, enrollment at Ole Miss has more than doubled, and the facility no longer can meet student demand. The Turner Center will remain open, and both facilities will offer recreation and wellness services to students, faculty, staff and the community.
The South Campus Recreation Center will house the William Magee Center for Wellness Education, named in honor of student William Magee, who died of an accidental overdose after his graduation. The William Magee Center will feature a variety of services to promote student wellness.
“The William Magee Center is going to be right there, front and center, in the main entrance,” Tulchinsky says. “Students will have to pass it on their way into the building. I think it’s going to bring a lot more attention to wellness services as well as the importance we place on the well-being of our students.”
The $32 million recreation center has been years in the making. The facility is housed in what was a warehouse on the former Whirlpool property.
Tulchinsky says he hopes the new facility becomes a community gathering spot, bringing together students, faculty, staff and area residents.
“This building shows our institutional commitment to student well-being,” Tulchinsky says. “It will be a very influential component for students who are making a college decision because it provides a space where you can take students, and there’s a ‘wow factor.'”