The South Campus Recreation Facility renovation project represents a first step for the University of Mississippi’s plans for future growth on south campus. It serves as an iconic anchor that will inspire and set the architectural precedent for the next several decades of campus growth. The site presented numerous challenges — namely that it sat across the highway from the center of campus. However, the university has plans for a future pedestrian bridge, providing valuable pedestrian connections to the space.
The project converts an abandoned Whirlpool manufacturing plant into a high-energy, expansive new fitness space that provides opportunities that were not available previously. The transformation turned what had been a faceless concrete box into a transparent, dramatic exterior that maximizes natural light and showcases the fitness programs and activities within.
An indoor climbing wall serves as the centerpiece for the facility. Programming includes 25,000-square-feet of fitness space, three fitness studios, two basketball courts, a multi-activity court, a track, a classroom demonstration kitchen, a convenience store and office space. Dedicated spaces for wellness education, outdoor programming and personal training also were included. Two fields for intramural sports, sports clubs and informal recreation are located adjacent to the building.
The facility’s mezzanine level provides open fitness space, allowing the building the flexibility to accommodate evolving fitness trends. The new facility provides students with a central hub for student activities while encouraging healthy living on campus.