Ole Miss’ opens $32m campus recreation centre to boost student wellbeing
The University of Mississippi is cutting the ribbon on its brand new US$32 million recreation facility next week. The state-of-the-art building will significantly enhance the exercise and wellness services available to students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as the community.
The South Campus Recreation Center will provide nearly 100,000 sq feet of workout space on the Oxford campus. It will have a large functional training zone, an indoor climbing wall, 25,000 sq feet of fitness space, fitness studios, basketball courts, a multi-activity court, and other amenities.
The South Campus Recreation Center will open on August 28, two days into the autumn semester. It will boost student wellbeing at the University of Mississippi by providing services for wellness education, outdoor programming and personal training. It also has two fields for intramural and club sports and informal recreation adjacent to the facility.
“The opening of the South Campus Recreation Center signals our university’s continued commitment to students’ health and wellness,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Brandi Hephner LaBanc, said in a press release.
“The new facility finally balances the appropriate square footage to our student enrollment – more students will have consistent and convenient access to fitness opportunities.”
It’s not just University of Mississippi students and faculty that will benefit from the new facility. The centre will be open to members of the community who can pay a membership fee to join. The university hopes it will become a communal meeting point, a place where people can come to socialise while also getting healthy and, in some cases, getting the help they need to deal with mental health issues.
At the very front of the facility is the William Magee Center for Wellness Education. It was named in honor of University of Mississippi graduate William Magee, who died of an accidental overdose after his graduation. His parents, David and Kent Magee of Oxford, made it their mission to help Ole Miss students facing their own issues with mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse.
“The William Magee Center is going to be right there, front and center, in the main entrance,” said Director of Campus Recreation, Peter Tulchinsky.
“Students will have to pass it on their way into the building. I think it’s going to bring a lot more attention to wellness services as well as the importance we place on the well-being of our students.”
Administrators hope the focus on student wellbeing at the University of Mississippi will directly impact recruitment and retention rates. At the university continues to grow, it is essential they rise to meet the demand.
“We really needed to meet the demand of our growing student population, and I think the new features are going to draw some community folks just because there will be nothing like this in Oxford,” Tulchinsky said.
“The impact that recreation facilities have on recruitment and retention of students is huge.”