The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness has officially opened its doors, ushering in a new era of recreation and wellness at UNCG focused on lifelong well-being for the campus community.
The new, 216,000-square-foot facility, part of UNCG’s master plan for growth along W. Gate City Boulevard, features more than 20,000 square feet of weight and fitness space, seven basketball courts, lap and activity pools (slated to open on Aug.19) and a 54-foot climbing wall, among other wellness spaces and classrooms.
The facility also offers new programming, including nutrition services with UNCG’s registered dietitian, aquatic programs and outdoor activities – such as sunrise yoga – on the 4,100-square-foot Spartan Terrace.
“As soon as you walk in the door, you have access to everything – the pools, Outdoor Adventures programs and all the other activity spaces. That’s something we didn’t have in the other facility,” said Dr. Jill Beville, director of recreation and wellness at UNCG. “We’re really excited about the variety of equipment, programming and educational opportunities that are going to be offered.”
In conjunction with the opening of the building, UNCG’s Wellness Center and Campus Recreation have merged to create the Department of Recreation & Wellness, a unification that reflects a national trend of aligning recreation and wellness. UNCG’s Wellness program, which provides education on areas such as sexual health, mental health, sexual violence and relationships, alcohol and other drugs, nutrition and body image, is now housed in the Kaplan Center, a move that allows for greater focus on overall well-being.
Additionally, the facility will hold classes for a variety of academic departments, including kinesiology and community and therapeutic recreation.
“The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness benefits our campus and community in multiple ways,” said Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. “In addition to promoting the health and well-being of our students, staff and faculty, this facility expands our capacity for state-of-the-art instruction and research and plays an important role in the development of Spartan Village along the Gate City Boulevard corridor.”
The Kaplan Center, which is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, also offers a variety of social spaces and seating areas where students can relax with friends and play billiards, shuffle board, video games and table tennis.
“It’s important for students to leave their residence halls and apartments and have a space where they’re surrounded by their peers,” Beville said. “Research shows that when students are connected to campus through recreation and wellness programs, they’re more successful both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Kaplan Center memberships are available for UNCG faculty, staff and alumni, and members may sponsor one additional person for membership. Parking will be available in Lot 49 located on Neal Street next to the Kaplan Center. The lot is designated as an “A” lot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The lot is open to all members outside of these hours. Shuttle services from campus to the facility will also be available.
The building is currently open to students enrolled in summer session courses or those who purchased a summer membership, as well as faculty, staff and alumni members. All students who are enrolled for the fall semester will be able to access the facility on Friday, Aug. 19. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place Friday, Sept. 16, and is open to the public. For more information about the facility, upcoming events and membership options, visit recwell.uncg.edu.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications