Every college and university wants to recruit great students that will stay for the duration of their education. Today, this is becoming more difficult because there are more options for students post high school than just college. Focusing on student athletes, one way to recruit is through new or improved athletic facilities. Designing a space where student athletes can practice, develop into better players, and have a sense of belonging is crucial to not only recruitment but retention.
Adrian College Merillat Sport and Fitness Center
Adrian College's student body was growing, and they were in need of a dynamic expansion to their fitness and athletic spaces. We designed the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center. Here, students feel a fresh, vibrant energy through the use of color, a transparent dividing wall between the cardio and free weight spaces, and even from the use of industrial-sized fans, which were able to help improve the air circulation and comfort throughout the space while keeping energy costs down.
Indiana Wesleyan University Football Stadium
Indiana Wesleyan University’s football program is in its first year; they’ll play their first season this fall. The stadium has the best amenities and a top notch aesthetic to not just look great, but to help recruit student athletes interested in playing football for a brand new program.
Trine University Thunder Ice Arena
Trine University’s Thunder Ice Arena is home to the men’s and women’s hockey teams. The arena was open for play last fall. The state-of-the-art rink helped the University recruit women for a brand new team, as well as give the men’s team a home of their own. Previously, they played off campus. The Thunder Ice Arena is a great addition to Trine’s sports facilities.
As enrollment is decreasing across the country, smaller colleges and universities are relying more on state-of-the-art facilities to attract student athletes. Recently, I visited Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), in Shawnee, OK, and Baylor University in Waco, TX. Both schools are private Christian universities with fantastic track and field training facilities.
One of Baylor’s star athletes was Olympic medalist Michael Johnson. He was a student athlete before their current facility was built. Jeremy Wariner also won multiple Olympic gold medals, and is a current world record holder and previous Baylor athlete. These athletes are a testament to the program’s strength. OBU’s facility was built in 2008. In the nine years since, they’ve gone up two divisions by NCAA standards, and that has made it easier to recruit higher level athletes and develop an even more competitive program.
Both Baylor and OBU’s facilities were designed specifically for year-round training of track and field athletes. This year-round training has led to an increase in student athlete recruitment rates for both schools. Schools in the Midwest that experience four seasons could benefit from similar facilities for continued training during the winter months and times of inclement weather.
I Once Was a Student Athlete
When I was a student at The University of Toledo, a new recreation center had just opened. Having access to that facility drove me to work out more often, helping create healthy habits as a young adult that I would continue into adulthood. I developed self-discipline not only as a student, but as an athlete focused on taking care of my body and my mind. When universities create amenities for their student athletes to thrive physically, they are more likely to thrive academically, as well. I know from firsthand experience the impact these facilities can have on student athletes.
Business Development Manager
If you are interested in learning more about how athletic facilites can increase retention and impact recruitment, please email Business Development Manager Steve Staley or call 260-422-4241.