University Recreation & Wellness Center, Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Myers, Fla.
Construction Cost: $16.3
Area / Square Feet: 45,955
Occupancy Date: February 2020

Designing and equipping the building with systems that will be needed to keep pace with the Florida Gulf Coast’s record-breaking enrollment required purposeful expertise and dedicated collaboration between the design team and the university. The sleek contemporary look, supported by a generous number of north-facing windows and expansive aluminum framing inside and out, makes a distinct architectural statement in contrast to the more traditional campus. The 40-foot-tall cantilevered roof over the main entrance and the building’s front elevation is designed to the scale of its eventual size of 100,000-plus square feet. Designing for today while equipping for tomorrow was a key priority for the owner and project team. 

Numerous first-floor amenities include indoor basketball courts, a strength and conditioning room and two studios for fitness classes. A mezzanine cardio deck on the second floor offers expansive views of the wooded and wetland campus through ribbons of floor-to-ceiling glass. An outdoor fitness area in front of the facility serves as an ideal venue for school and community events. 

Nestled amidst the dense Everglades, mangrove estuaries, mature Florida palm trees and the indigenous beauty of the 807-acre campus just south of Fort Myers, the student-centric recreation center drew more than 13,000 people during the first 10 days after opening and will continue expanding along the building’s spine to support the wellbeing of students, visitors, faculty and staff for years to come. 


Harvard-Jolly Architecture

Fort Myers, Fla. 


Hastings+Chivetta Architects 

St. Louis, Mo.