Facing increased student demand for recreational programming, Missouri State University created the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center – a centralized destination for student, faculty and staff recreation and wellness. The project had three main goals: to improve recreation opportunities for all people on campus, to support recruitment and retention efforts, and to centralize recreation programs in one facility; prior to the new building, outdated recreational offerings were scattered across campus making it difficult for the university to have a comprehensive, structured recreation program.
Located on a pivotal site between student life functions, the academic core, and other sports and recreation venues, the building makes recreation and wellness accessible to the entire campus, and puts physical activity on display for all to see; a passageway unifying two major campus precincts literally cuts through the building, allowing passerby to experience program activities without entering the facility.
The recreational program elements include a 3-court gymnasium, one with a multi-use play surface; 18,000 sf of weight fitness and cardio space; an indoor jogging track; a natatorium with both leisure water, lap lanes, and an outdoor deck; multi-purpose rooms for wellness activities; a climbing wall; and other support spaces, including locker rooms and administrative space.
Although there are many factors that contribute to recruiting, in the three years prior to the new facility opening, the student population grew by 157 students. Since opening a little more than three years ago, the student population has grown by 2,106 students.