NIRSA Awards 9 Collegiate Recreation Facilities for Outstanding Design

The 18,000-square-foot Hamel Student Recreation Center and Outdoor Pool at the University of New Hampshire features 850-square-feet of rock climbing walls, three hardwood courts, two fitness studios, renovated locker rooms with saunas and a demo kitchen.(Photo courtesy University of New Hampshire.)

The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) recently awarded nine newly constructed or renovated collegiate sports facilities as part of its 2018 NIRSA Awards. The honorees were recognized at the 2018 NIRSA Annual Conference, held held March 4-7 in Denver.

The Hamel Student Recreation Center and Outdoor Pool at the University of New Hampshire and University Recreation at Louisiana State University were among the recipients of NIRSA’s Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards, commending the “innovative designs of new, renovated, or expanded collegiate recreational facilities of NIRSA Member Institutions,” according to NIRSA. There are more than 5,000 NIRSA members across the United States.

“Winning facilities are considered a standard by which other collegiate recreational facilities should be measured, and from which others can benefit,” according to

The full list of award winners is below, including facility name, university name and architect name:

University Recreation
Louisiana State University
Architect: HOK

North Recreation Center
The Ohio State University
Architect: Acock Associates Architects

Hamel Student Recreation Center and Outdoor Pool
University of New Hampshire
Architect: HG Architects

Student Recreation Center Expansion & Renovation
Texas A&M University
Architect: Marmon Mok Architecture

Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center
Washington University in St. Louis
Architect: Hastings+Chivetta Architects

Recreation Center
Grand Valley State University
Architects: Hastings+Chivetta Architects, Integrated Architecture

Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center
University of Wyoming
Architects: Tobin & Associates, Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative

Intramural Recreation Building
Pennsylvania State University
Architect: Moody Nolan, Inc.

Mashouf Wellness Center
San Francisco State University
Architect: WRNS Studio

To be considered for the award, facilities must have been constructed or renovated between Nov. 1, 2015 and Oct. 31, 2017. Projects also must be valued at or above $2 million or total at least 20,000 square feet. Additionally, 50 percent or more of the facility's net square footage must be designed for recreational sports activities.

NIRSA’s selection committee weighs architectural design, functionality and how well a facility meets its intended purpose when judging facilities. More specifically, they consider seven criteria:

  • Correlation to campus master plan and mission
  • Intended and actual impact on the recreational program
  • Unique aesthetic of architectural features
  • Relationship between facility design and staffing
  • Innovative construction materials or mMethods
  • Sustainable features
  • Technological benefits for customer, staff and/or budget

Indoor facilities are recognized at every NIRSA Annual Conference, while awards for outdoor facilities are given every three years. Applications for outdoor facilities will be accepted in the fall of 2018 for the 2019 NIRSA Awards.

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