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Rise of the Wellness Center - New sports, fitness, and wellness spaces creating a new hub for student life on campus

04.24.17 / Bryan Thorp, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Health and wellness is integral to the student experience today, and university administrators are responding with a new generation of strategically-designed buildings. The first thing students notice about these contemporary athletic, fitness and wellness facilities is how welcoming they are, and how well they work as a social hub.

On the campus of Worcester State University, the place to be seen and meet-up is the new 101,000 square-foot Wellness Center. Opened this academic year, it replaces the old Lancer Gymnasium, an athletic center dedicated in 1958 when the total enrollment was 400 students.

Six decades later, Worcester State is in the midst of a planned transformation. The University is moving from its past role and image as a commuter college to its future - a 24/7 residential campus of 6,000 students from all corners of the world. To succeed, the institution is responding competitively to what students want to experience on their campus of choice.

Worcester State’s new LEED-certified complex is designed to host varsity and intramural sports, plus provide flexible space for fitness and health activities, community events, and university gatherings. It offers all students a variety of active and passive activities, and a destination experience with study spaces, specialized classrooms, and the popular Chandler’s Court, a smoothie bar and lounge. Included in the Wellness Center:

  • Two-court multi-purpose gymnasium with seating for 1500 spectators
  • An elevated indoor running and walking track
  • A 9,000 square-foot, two-level student fitness center
  • Two academic classrooms, offices, and amenity spaces
  • Multi-functional exercise rooms for aerobics, dance, and yoga

“The Wellness Center completes a physical transformation of our campus into a more student-friendly place,” said University President Barry M. Maloney. “Our aim is to keep students connected to campus and on a path toward graduation. This facility allows us to offer a full range of recreational and varsity sports opportunities, more classroom space, and a new campus quad. It will undoubtedly be the new heartbeat of the campus.”


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