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College Planning & Management Magazine selected the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) as the 2010 Grand Prize winner for Outstanding Design and Architecture in Education in the college and university category. The publication is the premier trade magazine for facilities design in education.

Winners were selected based on innovation and practicality that balance good design with providing excellent environments for students. The 15 other finalists included a residence hall at Boston University, the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State University, the Space Science Center at Morehead State University and the Al Glick Field House at the University of Michigan.

“I think the design team did the best job adapting the building to the site, and fitting the program into the spaces,” said judge Joe Dusek, president of Hardin Construction Co. “Student involvement and sustainability features were given priority.”

The $21-million, 104,000-square-foot SRWC, which opened in 2007, features options for health and wellness, including a climbing wall, three basketball courts, free-weight theater, a multipurpose gym for soccer and floor hockey, a walking and jogging track, cardio center and a Cyber Café, which offers healthy food options. The facility was funded through student segregated fees.

“It feels great to know that UW Oshkosh has a building which students can truly be proud of,” said 2006 graduate Jeff Herzig, who was president of the Oshkosh Student Association and served on the SRWC building committee. “It validates not only the work that we as students put into the building committee, but also the planning, preparation, and support of the whole University staff, which helped make this building possible. The entire building committee worked extremely hard to make this building the best it could be. Although I graduated before the building opened, I am extremely gratified to have been involved in the building process.”

Since its opening, the building has seen impressive usage rates, exceeding expectations.

“UW Oshkosh student investment in the SRWC has allowed unprecedented student participation in a wide variety of indoor recreational activities,” said Tom Patt, director of the SRWC. “This is evidenced by the almost 2,000 student participations a day during the academic year. Students are actively engaged in the setting of policy and budget through the Student Recreation Advisory Committee.”

Designed by Cannon Design in association with Potter-Lawson, the SRWC features numerous sustainable features, achieving the equivalent of a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating.

“We designed the building in a sustainable way,” said Richard Carlson, principal at Cannon Design. “The materials were selected for their natural makeup and for their ability to be recycled or because they had been recycled. We tried to do things as sustainable as possible to make the building a symbol for the students.”

This is the fourth time the facility has been recognized. In 2009, it received Innovative Architecture & Design Award, an Outstanding Sports Facilities Award from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, and was named a facility of merit by Athletics Business.

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