Vanderbilt reaches fundraising goal for new multipurpose facility, addition to recreation center

A rendering of the new multipurpose facility and expanded recreation center. (Vanderbilt University)
A rendering of the new multipurpose facility and expanded recreation center. (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University has met its fundraising goal for the construction of a new multipurpose facility and addition to its recreation center. The more than $30 million project is being funded by a combination of philanthropy and university investment.

The university is marking the milestone during halftime of the Vanderbilt Commodores’ Aug. 30 football home opener against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Facility renderings will be shown on Dudley Field’s new video board, and Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos will recognize key donors to the project on the field. The Thursday night game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Construction will involve enhancing the existing Student Recreation Center so that it can serve the entire Vanderbilt community as well as building a multipurpose facility, which will include a 120-yard-long indoor practice field surrounded by a 300-meter indoor track.

The project, which re-imagines sports and fitness at the university, moves toward the trend on many college campuses of combined recreation facilities that serve students, faculty and staff. Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2012.

“This is an exciting opportunity to offer our faculty and staff larger and additional exercise facilities; our students enhanced wellness programs; and our varsity, club and intramural teams increased indoor practice and playing space – developments that we hope will have long-lasting effects at Vanderbilt and on Nashville,” Zeppos said. “The momentum we have been able to build around this project has been incredible, and I cannot thank enough the donors who have had the commitment and vision to make this a reality.”

The indoor practice field will be available for varsity teams, including football, soccer and lacrosse, as well as intramural and club sports teams. The indoor track also will be open for use by the university’s athletic teams and students, faculty and staff.

Upgrades to the recreation center include expanding weight training, multipurpose spaces and cardiovascular and fitness areas, as well as the addition of a four-lane bowling alley that will both support the university’s varsity bowling team and provide a new recreational activity.

The current Student Recreation Center is located between 25th Avenue South and Natchez Trace. The building backs up to Children’s Way.

The university’s faculty and staff wellness program, Health Plus, will be relocated to the expanded recreation center. Health Plus is currently located on the top floor of the Kensington Garage on 25th Avenue next to Memorial Gym. In addition, employees will have access to the Student Recreation Center’s swimming pool, larger locker rooms and expanded hours.

The multipurpose facility is expected to have some impact on the local community, as it will increase the capacity for some of Vanderbilt’s popular summer camps for children used by the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. There also will be limited rental opportunities for the Nashville community, such as the hosting of major indoor high school track meets.