Elizabethtown College’s recent college-wide strategic planning process resulted in the need to construct a campus sports, fitness and wellness center. The proposed facility will support quality programs in athletics, E-Fit, intramurals and student wellness, including counseling services and health promotion.
Early plans of the new sports, fitness and wellness center feature multiple courts, a track, a larger fitness center for all activities of the Body Shop and a space for group fitness classes like Pound and Zumba. A new suite for student wellness includes health promotion and counseling services, additional athletic training space, locker rooms and group meeting rooms. “The College has an excellent reputation for high quality academic and co-curricular programs,” Dean of Students Marianne Calenda said. “The new facility will convey an even stronger commitment to the student living-learning experience.”
The College’s administration has noticed that in-group fitness has grown immensely in the last three years, and they expect the demand to continue. Students are becoming more interested in learning how to stay well, both physically and mentally. “Effective delivery of health promotion and counseling resources are essential for student academic and personal success,” Calenda said.
The College’s student engagement in athletics is at a very high rate with more than 400 students participating. The administration realizes that Thompson Gymnasium cannot support all the athletic activities provided by the College. Calenda also added that nearly all students on campus participate in multiple personal fitness activities through recreational programs such as E-Fit, intramurals and the use of the Body Shop.
The administration noted that the KAV and Royer basement are not designed to host such programs. The conclusion drawn from these observations is that the College needs more appropriate program space to accommodate student needs for sports, recreation, personal fitness and well being.
The College is looking for multiple donors to help complete this project. David Beidleman, vice president for institutional advancement and community relations, said, “In order for the College to move forward, we must first build our capacity through fundraising, debt management and prudent fiscal planning. From a financial stand point, the earliest we will be able to move this project forward is 2016.”
At the recent Board of Trustees business meeting, they approved a resolution to create a Campaign Steering Committee that will coordinate strategy for a campaign, finalize priorities and report to the Board on the best time to launch a campaign. Beidleman stated that the most significant project in this campaign will be the fundraising aspect for the new sports, fitness and wellness center.
The cost for a donor to name the center is $7,500,000 and there are many additional naming opportunities for donors to consider. As of now, the new facility project has more than $2,000,000 in commitments. Overall, it is too early in the process for administration to set a final budget; however, it will likely cost well over $20,000,000.
Both Calenda and Beidleman believe that this new facility will increase the College’s ability to attract students and will build upon the College’s community, faculty and administration. “I believe the new facility will strengthen our college community; it will add variety to the student social experience and afford even more opportunity for students, faculty and staff to meet, converse and stay healthy,” Calenda said.