Why Expand the GVSU Recreational Facilities Now?

Facilities User Needs Assessment Committee Report to the GVSU Community April 2013  Click Here to Read this Report




  • The original Rec Center was built in 1994 to meet the recreational needs of a student body of 13,533. As enrollment grew to 20,407 in 2002, an addition of an auxiliary gym and the cardiovascular and weight areas were expanded to accommodate immediate demand for more space.  The addition was not large enough to accommodate a growing institution.  By 2011, GVSU almost doubled in enrollment from 1994 when the Recreation Center was designed.
  • With growing enrollment, GVSU has a growing residential community.  No longer is GVSU viewed as a commuter school.  On campus residents have increased by over 60%, and off campus apartments’ house over 6,000 students and are located less than half a mile away.
  • Participation in Campus Recreation programming has exploded.  Intramural participation has increased over 70% and Group Exercise attendance has increased over 20%.  There is no longer enough room to meet the demand of these well attended programs.
  • Participation in Club Sports has more than doubled since 2002.  GVSU has more than twice as many club teams as most peer institutions.  Also, GVSU Student Senate is allocating money to off campus locations to rent space to accommodate these teams.
  • Recreation Center Informal (drop-in) recreation users have seen a steady increase; with over 350,000 visits last year.  Very little space is available leaving many students standing and waiting for equipment and court time.
  • Academic classes that use the Fieldhouse & Recreation Center have outgrown the space.  Classes now overflow into the Recreation Center impacting informal recreation opportunities for students.  Movement Science majors have more than doubled in the last ten years which has created more demand for space.  In fact, Exercise Science is the sixth largest major on campus.


GVSU lags behind other Universities in the amount of recreational space for students.  Identified areas of severe needs include, but are not limited to:

  • Courts (Basketball & Volleyball)
  • Cardio & Strength Equipment Areas
  • Stretching Areas
  • Number of Pool lanes & availability
  • Dance Studio and Multipurpose Space
  • Racquetball Courts
  • Common Space for Students to Gather including a space to change their shoes before working out
  • Locker Room & Restrooms
  • Office space for Recreation Staff (facilities, programming,  and club sports)
  • Climbing Space for Bouldering
  • Academic Teaching/Lab areas for Movement Science
  • Secure Control Desk
  • Climbing Wall Bouldering Space

NIRSA: Leaders in College Recreation recommends over 335,400 sq. ft. of indoor recreation space for an enrollment of GVSU's size.  This is for indoor recreation areas that do not share with Academics or Athletics.  This number will be higher if the recreational areas are used for more than recreation.  The GVSU Recreation Center facility offers just 167,556 sq. ft. which must be shared by Recreation, Athletics, Academics, Club Sports, and Student Life.  The Kelly Family Sports Center helped relieve pressure from the Fieldhouse Complex Arena when it first opened.  However, it is not normally available for informal recreation, and current student activities requests are typically denied for lack of availability.











Recreation is important to the students and faculty/staff of GVSU, according to the 2013 Campus Recreation Survey:

  • 74% of Students say that they have increased or improved their sense of belonging/association from their participation in recreation.
  • 73% of Students who use on campus recreational facilities choose to do so after 2pm weekdays.
  • 88% of Students who use on campus recreational facilities spend over 30 minutes at each visit with 8% staying for over 90 minutes.
  • 75% of Students say that they have increased or improved their Academic performance from their participation in recreation.
  • 91% of Students, 87% of Faculty, and 97% of Staff say that they have increased or improved their stress management from their participation in recreation.
  • Over 34% of Students say they participate in on-campus recreational sports, programs, and/or activities three times a week or more.
  • More than 77% of Students participate in on-campus recreational sports, programs, and/or activities at least once a week.  75% of Faculty and over 87%of Staff report participation at least once per week.
  • 73% of Students say Recreational Facilities were important in their decision to attend GVSU.
  • In a survey conducted at GVSU in January 2013, students were asked:  When deciding to attend GVSU how important were recreation facilities in your decision? In deciding to continue at GVSU, how important are recreation facilities?











 Click here to see what GVSU students have to say about the Recreation Center


  • The current state of health among our country is in decline with 33% of college students either overweight or obese (CDC).
  • According to the National College Health Assessment, 30% of college students report being “so depressed that it was difficult to function” and that depression can affect academic performance in college (2012).In addition, 51% of college students felt “overwhelming anxiety” in the past 12 months and 52% of college students report more than average stress levels with 9.7% reporting “tremendous stress”(NCHA, 2012).
  • According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and 60% of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.



  • Exercise helps improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and has numerous physical, psychological and emotional benefits (Mayo Foundation). Social engagement has many health benefits and contributes to academic success.
  • College students who work out on campus get better grades.  Click Here to read new study from Purdue University.


Email staff:

Athletic & Recreation Facilities Management or Campus Recreation

Sources:  Facilities User Needs Assessment Committee Report to the GVSU Community April 2013   Click Here to Read this Report


Page last modified March 14, 2014