University of Connecticut


New Student Recreation Center Programming

In the fall of 2015, the University of Connecticut progressed its long-term vision for a new student recreation center into full design. Recreation department leadership had been working for years to compile a list of desired program elements for the new facility based on constraints of the existing building and information gathered during tours of peer institutions’ facilities. As appropriate due diligence before entering the design phase, the University sought verification of this list from Brailsford & Dunlavey, as part of the JCJ Architecture and Moody Nolan team.

B&D’s work plan for this project was comprised of:

• Stakeholder interviews to determine the bases and drivers for the existing list
• Benchmarking, including program interviews with 16 peer and / or aspirational institutions, and analysis of NIRSA standards
• Review of administrative staffing tables and graphs to provide specific context on how the University’s proposed staffing plan aligned with similarly-sized facilities
• Square footage listings to compile quantitative data about each building element
• A capacity analysis to provide context on capacities of individual spaces and peak facility participation
• Room data sheets to provide a clear vision for each individual space for its functionality, adjacencies, furniture, critical dimensions, and the like

While the resulting description of the University’s desired recreation center was similar to the original vision, B&D provided detailed strategic justifications for each space, including: outlining that the proposed recreation center would be in the range of 200,000 GSF; would be a complete facility accommodating not only self-directed fitness, but also intramurals programs, club sports, and an adventure center; and, in many elements, would not only be catching up to its peers for recreation offerings, but would also be distinct with its robust Adventure Center and its sensitivity to gender identification for locker rooms.