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Boost higher ed recruiting with athletic facility design – University of Nebraska at Kearney

by Erin Froschheiser, RA, NCARB, LEED AP

This spring, LEO A DALY Project Manager Erin Froschheiser will discuss firsthand data and feedback from LEO A DALY fieldhouse, athletic- and wellness-facility projects. She illuminates feedback from clients, stakeholders, students and school staff, who reflect on a facility’s ultimate influence on recruiting, retention and perception.

Read previous installments:

Introduction and Part 1: UNMC Expands Services to Attract Students and Faculty

Part 2: Athletic Programs Attract Non-Athletes, Too

Part 3: Integrating Wellness Functions and Technology

After the doors opened in August 2014 to the new Wellness Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, usage for September through December increased by 39 percent over the same months in 2013. By the end of 2015, statistics showed growth of 145 percent. Faculty memberships saw a particularly significant rise from seven members to 90.

The center’s popularity resulted in part from its thoughtful design and programming, which accounted for many needs across campus. Through stakeholder engagement, UNK leaders had provided an inclusive, flexible and multipurpose facility that today marks a keystone stop on tours of campus. Most hours of operation, the facility looks alive with activity.

The new facility’s programming includes upper and lower levels with dedicated entries. The upper level includes physical activity, bone density and wellness labs that serve the university’s wellness programs for community adolescents and adults. Kinesiology and exercise science students gain hands-on experience working with community members to achieve their health goals.

Fitness equipment and offices on the upper level serve these health-related academic programs. The lower level serves current students and faculty with 6,000 square feet of fitness space. By separating light-lifting and heavy free-weight areas, the center’s fitness programming invites usage by people of all abilities and experience levels. A 30-foot climbing wall appeals to recreation seekers and gives students and faculty opportunities to hone climbing skills year-round.

A flexible multi-purpose room includes a demonstration kitchen for nutrition classes and is equipped with audio-visual infrastructure for recording and broadcasting to today’s media-centric student body. Aspects such as the demonstration kitchen help drive community-based programming, including nutritional cooking classes. The facility further extends its reach into the community through an affiliate membership program, which doubles as a source of revenue, yet another benefit of the UNK Wellness Center’s versatile design.

Part 4 in this series will be available soon. Follow us on social media to join the conversation. 

Erin Froschheiser Leo A DalyAbout the author

With more than 16 years of experience, Erin Froschheiser stands out to clients for her service-oriented style of leadership and successful track record of delivering complex projects. She believes wholeheartedly that today’s facilities should meet the needs of their users, while maintaining adaptability. Erin can be contacted at 402.390.4457 or