Quinnipiac enters new era as construction begins for Recreation and Wellness Center
March 23, 2021
March 23, 2021
The multi-purpose facility, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2022, will include expanded recreational space and equipment, a rock-climbing wall, an upgraded health center, a counseling center with stunning outdoor views and a fuel bar for pre- and post-workout nutritional needs. Outside the building, there will be benches, a firepit and other inviting spaces.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Tami Reilly, director of fitness and well-being. “As you walk in the lobby, it will feel like your home — a place to gather with friends, work out, learn about new programming options. You’ll notice the energy will change you right away.”
Energy will be a big part of the Recreation and Wellness Center. It will be an environmentally responsible building designed to LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. To earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation, the building must be constructed with an eye toward global stewardship and preserving the planet.
In addition to the other amenities, Reilly said there will be a dedicated athletic training space for club sports, wide views of Sleeping Giant State Park and four fitness studios, including one with a retractable wall for outdoor workout opportunities. It’s all part of a broader commitment to healing and sustainability at Quinnipiac.
“Sustainability is part of well-being, too. This building — and it’s really much more than a building — will bring all of these holistic elements together,” Reilly said. “We’re giving our students what they deserve. They’re so driven to take care of themselves. They’re so driven to do well academically. They’re leaders in clubs and organizations. They have incredible GPAs. It’s often hard for them to find time for themselves. This new building will help them do that.”
The Recreation and Wellness Center, designed by DesignLab/S3, will make health and wellness a prominent feature of campus with the addition to the existing Athletic and Recreation Center on the west and south facades, a courtyard and terrace garden, and a new campus open space to the south.
The counseling center will provide welcoming spaces and broader access to clinical services and mental health care. Our state-licensed counselors are committed to supporting the intellectual, emotional and social development of all Quinnipiac students.
Sal Filardi, vice president for facilities and capital planning, is eager to get started on the project.
“It’s going to be a terrific facility for the whole well-being of our students and our community,” Filardi said. “It builds on the facility we currently have to make it more spacious and welcoming with lots of windows and light coming in. I’m really looking forward to it becoming a showcase facility.”
Filardi said he expects construction to last about 18 months, including some mild growing pains.
“Anytime we construct a new building in the middle of campus, there’s going to be some disruption, but we hope to keep it to a minimum,” Filardi said. “We won’t be able to access the current Recreation Center from all the same doors during construction — just the main north entry off the parking lot. We appreciate everyone’s understanding during construction, and in the end, we’re going to get a great new facility.”
Student input was a key driver in the vision of the facility. Reilly also credited the collaboration among countless campus partners, including Monique Drucker, vice president and dean of students; Tom Ellett, chief experience officer; Mike Medina, director of campus life for recreation; and Filardi.
The new Recreation and Wellness Center will be built on the university's Mount Carmel Campus.
The new center will be home to recreational space and equipment, a rock-climbing wall, an upgraded health center, a counseling center with stunning outdoor views and a fuel bar for pre- and post-workout nutritional needs. Outside the building, there will be benches, a firepit and other inviting spaces.
The center is a key component of Quinnipiac’s master facilities plan, “Designing Our Future.” Along with construction of the Recreation and Wellness Center, the master facilities plan includes new and renovated academic facilities, collaborative living and learning spaces, more open greenspaces, additional on-campus housing and uniquely designed social hubs to enrich the intellectual, social and cultural life of students and the QU community.
Quinnipiac hired Ayers Saint Gross, a design firm that specializes in reimagining college and university campuses, as the architect for its master facilities plan. Other institutions that have collaborated with Ayers Saint Gross include Duke University, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.
“The master facilities plan follows our strategic plan, The University of the Future, and provides Quinnipiac a flexible roadmap for thoughtful, long-term physical planning, momentum and distinctions,” President Judy Olian said. “Quinnipiac has always been a university with an eye on the future, and this 10-year blueprint captures our vision for innovative opportunities and new initiatives that will enhance the learning and living experiences of our students, the QU community and surrounding towns.”
The Recreation and Wellness Center is among several near-term projects on the Mount Carmel Campus that were recently approved by the university’s Board of Trustees as part of the master facilities plan. The Recreation and Wellness Center was unanimously approved by the Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission.
Other near-term projects include renovation of The Complex residence hall, and the initial scoping of a new general academic building and residence hall. Quinnipiac will work closely with Hamden officials on all necessary reviews and approval for these projects.
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