Originally founded as a teachers’ college, Illinois State University in Normal, IL has come a long way since its inception in 1857, making it the oldest public university in Illinois. Now known as the home of the Redbirds with roughly 17,500 undergraduate students, the university made plans to expand its recreational offerings with the construction of a new Student Fitness and Recreation Center.
The new state-of-the-art 187,295 square foot facility serves multiple purposes, including acting as a home for Campus Recreation, Health Promotion and Wellness and the School of Kinesiology and Recreation. Throughout the three-story building are recreation, academic and social areas, holding space for a pool, weight and fitness rooms, aerobics and dance spaces, and multiple gymnasiums that house a racquetball court, a climbing wall and a jogging track. The center also provides instructional areas for a bio medic’s research lab, athletic training and many various clinical and instruction labs.
RDG Planning & Design was hired as the architect to design the new Student Fitness and Recreation Center. The overall exterior of the building features many similar components that make up the older academic buildings on campus, while boldly interpreting the look and feel of a newly formed design. CENTRIA Versawall® insulated metal wall panels coated in Valspar’s Fluropon® Classic II architectural metal coating in Silversmith were installed across the exterior of the building, assisting in the contemporary aesthetic appeal and design. In addition, the facility draws a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, with an emphasized use of glass throughout the entire building, which is mirrored in other campus buildings.
Valspar’s Fluropon family of metal architecture coatings are field-proven, high performance exterior finishes that contain 70 percent Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) proprietary resins. Fluropon Classic II features a pearlescent shimmer that offers resistance to chalking and chemical degradation while providing vibrancy and durability to any project. The new Student Fitness and Recreation Center utilized a classic color, silversmith, to continue on the path of mixing contemporary materials into the cohesive design.
Since opening in 2011, the building has received multiple awards that applaud its design and recreational offerings, including the Innovative Architecture & Design Award in 2012 from Recreation Management Magazine, the Outstanding Sports Facility Award in 2012 from National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), and the Citation Award in 2012 from the American School & University.
During a time when Illinois universities were cutting programs and reducing costs, Illinois State University stood behind its “strong and steady” reputation and invested in providing more space and programs for its student body with the new Student Fitness and Recreation Center. With the help of Valspar’s Fluropon Classic II, this building will continue to shine while simultaneously offering students academic and leisure spaces in this modern structure.
Illinois State University; Normal, IL; http://illinoisstate.edu/