In January 2017, the Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees approved a development plan to design and build a 103,000-square-foot recreation center under an aggressive timeline. By utilizing an integrated Construction Manager at Risk project delivery method, the project opened within 24 months and came in under budget.
Construction of JSU’s Recreation and Fitness Center was in direct response to JSU’s mission to enhance the quality of campus life and to increase student retention and enrollment, which had been holding steady. Specifically, the goal was to activate campus social life, create a home for commuter students, and engage students in on-campus fitness and wellness programming, which had not been prevalent on the southern rural campus.
In the semester following the facility’s opening, enrollment increased by 6 percent — leading to a record in first-time freshmen enrollment. Since opening, quarterly visits to the rec center have essentially doubled and monthly visits increased dramatically. Most importantly, a majority of the student population now engages in fitness and wellness activities as part of their daily routine, contributing to the formation of healthy habits for the long term.