Title: Anderson University announces planned construction of Wellness Center
President James L. Edwards and the Anderson University board of trustees are pleased to announce the planned construction of the Anderson University Wellness Center. The nearly 121,000 square-foot Wellness Center project, with an estimated cost of $15 million, will incorporate health, recreation and wellness in all forms—spiritual, emotional, physical, social and connect the existing structures of O.C. Lewis Gymnasium and Bennett Natatorium at the northeast end of the university campus. The facility will be the largest building project in the university’s 83-year history.
“The Wellness Center will bring a major program emphasis to the university which will touch every student, our wider campus and community, our church community and this region of the nation,” said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. “The ideals of personal development and holistic wellness that will be programmed through this facility—body, mind and spirit—are reflected through the university’s mission statement and will chart a new course for the institution. We are extremely grateful for the tremendous amount of support and encouragement we have received from literally thousands of alumni, donors, and friends in our sponsoring church and across the country.”
In Oct., 1999, Anderson University relocated the campus tennis courts, previously available behind the Sports Medicine and Health Services annex, to the northeast side of the O.C. Lewis Gymnasium parking lot in anticipation of the Wellness Center facility. The architectural firms of K.R. Montgomery and Associates in Anderson and RDG Bussard Dikis of Des Moines, IA, are designing the project. Contractors managing the 18-month construction of the facility—targeted to begin in early spring, 2001—will be announced at a later date pending a further review and evaluation of project costs and projected gift income by the Executive Committee of the AU board of trustees.
“The board of trustees is committed to this wonderful new center which has already received a broad level of strong support through the recently completed ‘Anderson Challenge’ capital campaign,” said Lou Gerig, chair of the AU board of trustees and president of Sease, Gerig & Associates in Indianapolis, Ind. “The issues of health, fitness and wellness have become such an intricate part of our society. This new center will bring focus to these topics and add both an educational and a spiritual dimension.”
The state-of-the-art facility will strategically bring together the departments of Physical Education, Athletic Training and Athletics presently located in different areas of the 120-acre university campus. In addition, the center will be focused on holistic approaches to health—specifically in the areas of recreation, evaluation, education and human performance.
“The Wellness Center will allow our faculty and staff to be accessed in one central location providing related areas with a great deal of versatility along with teaching stations, lecturing rooms and specialized areas,” said Barrett Bates, director of Intercollegiate Athletics. The student body will be able to have additional spaces and access for recreation purposes as well as instruction—particularly during inclement weather. The center will offer top-flight equipment and facilities that truly take a school of our size into the 21st century.”
Plans also call for the existing structures of O.C. Lewis Gymnasium and Bennett Natatorium to receive significant remodeling upgrades throughout the construction schedule. The university’s Wellness Center will also include approximately $600,000 of instructional athletic equipment addressing various areas of fitness and development.
“Wellness is about being an active participant in the pursuit of wholeness—it is about taking responsibility for personal well being and learning what we can do to produce, encounter and attempt positive steps that improve ourselves,” said Becky Hull, chair of the Department of Physical Education. “To that end, we hope to offer a variety of educational programs about such topics as healthy snacks, seasoning food and vegetarian options to name a few as well as up-to-date information on prevention and intervention of health conditions like cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The center will have several meeting rooms for educational programs targeting other dimensions of wellness like spiritual, emotional, social and vocational. Examples of those programs might be reading-discussion groups, dealing with the stresses of test taking, strategies to care for aging parents or making an office environment ergonomically safe.”
The lower level of the state-of-the-art center will feature an open middle concourse allowing main access to the facility from the north and the south. On the west end of the lower level will be a multipurpose field house offering four regulation basketball courts that provide and support the full range of educational instruction, a 200 meter regulation indoor running track, access to Bennett Natatorium. Also located on the lower level of the center will be several meeting facilities, and a variety of specialized areas for human performance and sports medicine therapy and rehabilitation.
“On a private Christian university level, this new center will be a superior facility,” said Steve Risinger, associate professor and director of Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. “The sports medicine program at Anderson University is one of only a few programs at a private Christian university that is nationally accredited. The Wellness Center will provide us with the teaching equipment and rehabilitation spaces needed to stay at this level, provide better athletic care and testing for university athletes, draw and retain exceptional students and expand our program services. This new center will be able to add significant depth to our ongoing academic study of human performance.”
The top level of the Wellness Center will provide a main reception area leading into
central access for the existing O.C. Lewis Gymnasium, a comprehensive fitness evaluation area, faculty and staff offices and a conferencing area. In addition, the Anderson University Wellness Center will be ADA accessible and allow for additional programming in counseling, recreation, and popular intramural campus activities. According to the AU Department of Student Life, the Wellness Center will have a significant positive impact on the personal development of the campus community.
“The Wellness Center will be a valuable asset to the university due to the strong recreational activities that we have on campus—specifically in intramurals,” said H.L. Baker, dean of Students. “Research demonstrates that structured intramural recreational activities provide a sense of belonging and accountability to a close-knit group, which is extremely important to personal student development. My understanding is that in the past we have had several hundred students participating in intramural basketball alone. This facility will allow for expanded and consistent intramural programming, which previously needed to be arranged around other intercollegiate athletic activities.”
Anderson University is a four-year, private, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,400 undergraduates and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, and theology.