Student Recreation + Wellness Complex
University of North Florida
82,000 / 2,439 sm
Student recreation center including nutrition, spa, fitness areas, group exercise rooms, locker facilities
(developed as the Design Director of Dewberry)
Higher Education / Recreation
Borrelli + Dewberry Architects Joint Venture
Sustainability at the Core of an Energizing Solution
The University Of North Florida (UNF) is a public university in Jacksonville, Florida. Its campus comprises 1,300 acres surrounded by a natural preserve on Jacksonville's Southside. UNF opened in 1972, initially designated an upper division college for juniors and seniors, it began admitting freshmen in 1984. As of 2016, the University has over 16,000 students. With this growth in the student population, more student amenities were needed.
In 2010, the new Student Wellness Complex, located at the northern end of the campus became a dynamic building serving multiple users and creating a bold one of-a-kind facility for the University. Positioned amongst the recreation and athletic facilities, this student center rejuvenates the northern area of the campus reflecting the university’s role as an active learning, recreation, and competitive center while creating an enlivened new environment that complements the new Student Union to the south. The building extends along UNF Drive with portions of the structure rising to three stories in the air, overlooking the Campus in all directions.
The design intentionally incorporates, mixes, and blends program spaces to better serve its users. Several administrative, learning, and instructional spaces are purposefully integrated to enhance the connectivity to the rest of the recreation uses. It also provides multiple large recreation and academic venues, supporting existing and new program offerings. This facility provides a new home for the Recreation, Health Promotions, and Physical Education Departments. At the upper levels, the main exercise equipment area wraps and bends to conform to its context, giving the center a site specific identity, weaving into the campus. On the west end, this area extends to an outdoor balcony for group programing. The 1/8th mile track nests along the building perimeter with glazing strategically placed to allow students views in all directions.
Moving along the UNF Drive elevation, the east end of the fitness bar punctuates with glass and a large trellis anchored by a steel truss on the exterior, being sympathetic with the Student Union and unifying the two facilities architecturally. Its placement is intended to complete the northern plaza’s eastern edge, giving opportunity to create a new center of social and recreation activity for the UNF campus’s recreation and athletic facilities.
With multiple new buildings on the campus receiving LEED certification, the New Student Wellness Complex was designed with this goal at the forefront. Multiple strategies were implemented, including perforated metal sun shading, high efficiency mechanical systems and lighting, as well as treadmills that were connected to the building power systems that transfer the energy back to the grid. The facility is LEED Gold, certified by the USGBC.