On Tuesday, August 17th, West Virginia University celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Student Recreation Center and hosted a dedication of new outdoor fitness courts.
Snacks and refreshments were provided, along with special anniversary t-shirts and photo ops with the Mountaineer. We heard public remarks from University and Campus Recreation leadership, including President E. Gordon Gee, Dean of Students, Corey Farris, Campus Recreation Director, Andy Darling, and student operations supervisor, Matt Stahl. Afterward, a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place to dedicate the recently-opened Towers Rec and Fitness Courts, which have been under construction for the past year.
The Student Recreation Center opened on Tuesday, July 17th, 2001, and was part of a 10-year, $250 million campus renewal program. Construction began in October of 1999. Since then, the Student Recreation Center has expanded to include outdoor recreation areas as well.
WVU President E. Gordon Gee said during a speech that the institution is constantly expanding and renewing.
“We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary, but it’s also renewal time,” he said, standing before the crowd gathered for the event. “Why look through the rearview mirror when we can look through the windshield? And that’s exactly what we’re doing today.” -President E. Gordon Gee
Andy Darling, Director of Campus Recreation, announced the development of a downtown fitness center saying that as the population of the university continues to grow and evolve, so do the offerings of Campus Recreation. One way that Campus Recreation is expanding is by adding a fitness center downtown in Reynolds Hall– the future home for WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
“Our footprint will be on the ground floor of the B&E building,” Darling said. “Excited about the experience folks have in this building and take it to where half of our students live downtown and half of our faculty and staff work downtown. Being able to be proximate to them and provide those experiences is going to add quite a bit for us.”
Matt Stahl, student operations supervisor, said that having the recreation center benefits the students in many ways.
“The Rec is the hub of Student Life,” he said. “The amount of students that come in and out of here on a daily basis for not just their physical, but their mental health as well. I think it’s an awesome escape from all the tough things that are going on in the world.”
WVU Dean of Students, Corey Farris referenced students' concerns as the Recreation Center was closed last school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke of the anniversary event as another way to celebrate the return to normal operations.
“This rec center is for you and will always be for you,” he told the students. “This is one of the important places where you all come and hang out. We heard you loud and clear last year when you said that the rec center was one of the places that you missed the most. So, it was important this year to celebrate the reopening.”
“And I’m excited for the next 20 years,” Farris said.