Bradley University Opens Markin Family Student Recreation Center

For Immediate Release
Peoria, IL | 06.15.2009

Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, celebrated the opening of the $30-million Markin Family Student Recreation Center.

Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, recently celebrated the opening of the new Markin Family Student Recreation Center, a $30-million facility that will "change the face of our campus forever," according to President Joanne Glasser, speaking at the dedication. Designed by the Peoria office of PSA-Dewberry, the center will "give our students healthy options," Glasser added. "It will become a hub for their recreational and social activities. And it will attract students from far and near."

The centerpiece of the university's "Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance," the 130,000-square-foot recreation center offers nearly four times more space for exercise, fitness, and student service programs than the previous recreation building, which dates to 1976. Unlike many campus recreation centers, the new building was designed to reflect an integrated focus on both recreation and wellness, and incorporates the university's student health center, counseling center, and College of Nursing programs. "These programs, coupled with more traditional recreation functions, define student recreation and wellness in a more holistic fashion," notes PSA-Dewberry Design Principal Tom Seymour.

The center features an indoor pool, two racquetball courts, a 46-foot-high rock climbing wall, a bouldering wall, a multi-activity court, and a jogging track. There are four basketball courts for intramural and recreational games and a championship court with spectator seating for 300. Recently featured in Athletic Business magazine, the building offers a number of student amenities, including a juice bar and café, a student lounge, and more than 700 lockers.

The Markin Center is the first of four buildings that will define a new Alumni Quad for the campus. The building's façade is designed to relate to the university's historic limestone structures, including the circa-1897 Westlake Hall College of Education directly across the street. To minimize costs, the new structure's façade is constructed of precast concrete panels that emulate the traditional limestone in terms of both detail and scale, while also allowing for large expanses of glass along the exterior.

"This is a dynamic, highly visible building within the campus, and it was important that the design support the center's role as an energetic place for student interaction and engagement," adds Seymour. "At the same time, we needed to be sensitive to the building's presence on a tight site near the perimeter of the campus, close to other campus buildings and the surrounding residential community."

PSA-Dewberry provided architectural services as well as mechanical/electrical and structural engineering. Williams Brothers Construction served as the general contractor.

The building was named after David Markin (class of 1953), who donated $8 million toward construction. Markin was the captain of the Bradley University tennis team as a student and has twice been recognized with the President's Award for leadership, service, and philanthropic support.

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