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FSU's Rec Sportsplex Wins National Award


Source: FSU Campus Recreation


TALLAHASSEE, FL – The National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), the national association for collegiate recreation programs, announced Friday that Florida State University’s Rec SportsPlex is a NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities national award winner for 2010.

“With the addition of the Rec SportsPlex, the students of Florida State University finally have a facility that can support the quantity and quality of participation our students have long needed and deserve,” said Alicia Crew, Director of Campus Recreation at FSU. “Our students can now enjoy one of the absolute best and biggest outdoor sports facilities in collegiate recreation.”

Florida State University joins the University of Georgia as the only two institutions in the nation honored for outstanding outdoor sports facilities in 2010. It is the first time since 2007 that outdoor facilities have been recognized in NIRSA’s annual competition.

Florida State University shares the award with several area firms. Douglas Barlowe, of Tallahassee’s Barnett Fronczak Barlowe Architects, LLP, served as lead architect on the project. Baycrest Corporation of Tallahassee led the construction efforts with the assistance of dozens of local contractors and vendors.

Florida State University Campus Recreation opened its 108-acre Rec SportsPlex outdoor recreational sports facility to the students, faculty, and staff of the University in September 2007 following over four years of surveying, planning, design, development, and construction. The facility encompasses 12 flag football fields, 4 soccer fields, 5 softball fields, 3 participant support buildings, and a maintenance support building. In all, 46 acres of field space are available for activities while the support buildings total over 22,000 square feet of space. The Florida State University Rec SportsPlex is one of the largest single outdoor collegiate recreational facilities in the nation.

“With the Rec SportsPlex, Florida State University has been able to further expand opportunities for students to engage in sport and recreational activities,” said David Peters, Director of Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs. “And, our active student population is certainly taking advantage.”

With a climate that supports year-round outdoor recreation, students and other members of the University community utilize the new field space throughout the year. In the two years since the Rec SportsPlex opened, participations at FSU’s outdoor recreational facilities jumped 53% including new intramural sports, expanded seasons, sport club tournaments, and other student organization events. In 2009, Intramural Sports hosted over 350 flag football teams, 250 soccer squads, and 200 softball teams in its leagues at the facility.

As a facility wholly dedicated to student recreation, members of the Florida State University Campus Recreation department worked closely with the design team to ensure the best possible experience for this specific user group. Entryways funnel participants from parking areas to check-in locations.

Pavilion spaces afford intramural participants covered areas to meet teammates and safe areas to shelter in times of inclement weather. All restrooms include changing areas for intramural participants while separate shower facilities are available for sport club tournament participants. Over 2,000 square feet of sports equipment storage is available. Designated technologically enhanced meeting rooms are available for intramural and club use. Technology is also employed by staff to assist in providing quality customer service and participant administration. Program staff members utilize a swipe-card check-in system for participants which includes team roster tracking and scheduling assistance. Wireless internet access is available to patrons at all buildings.

The University worked closely with the design team to develop a facility that would have a positive impact to the local environment and area neighborhoods in its southwest Tallahassee location. The design team took advantage of the slope of the 108-acre site to create two large drainage ponds, allowing the facility to retain all stormwater on the premises. Well water via two pumps is utilized for field and landscape irrigation. High efficiency lighting has significantly limited light pollution for nearby residential neighborhoods. And, support buildings were designed at a size and with architectural facades that blend into the community.

During the day, the Rec SportsPlex is maintained daily by four full-time personnel with additional daytime maintenance support provided by a student field crew of approximately ten members. At night, student participants arrive to participate in the variety of leagues and events scheduled by the Intramural Sports and Sport Club programs.

With its focus on student development and leadership, the Florida State University Intramural Sports program employs 35 of its over 250 staff members as student supervisors who work in teams of 5 to 10 students to oversee activities at the facility during afternoon and evening operating hours. Each field house building is designed to maximize supervision and provide areas for employee-participant interaction. Additional spaces are available for medical personnel and University security personnel, when necessary.

“It is great to have a state-of-the-art complex here at FSU,” said Alexandra Alvarez, a student participant. “The Rec SportsPlex is simply huge. It allows so many different people to be involved a variety of sports and activities, all at the same time.”

Timeline of the Rec SportsPlex
Initially proposed by Campus Recreation and endorsed by the Student Government Association in the spring of 2003, the facility was approved to receive approximately $12.3 million in funding from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund in the summer of 2004. A committee of FSU students, faculty, and staff members reviewed priorities for the facility over the next year. In the fall of 2005, the firm of Barnett Fronczak Barlowe Architects was selected to lead the design team. By the fall of 2006, design was completed and Baycrest Corporation was selected as the construction contractor for the project. Construction work began on November 1, 2006 with substantial completion in September 2007. The facility opened for student use on September 14, 2007, and was officially dedicated on October 19, 2007.

About the NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Award
NIRSA began presenting annual OSF awards for creative, innovative designs of new or expanded facilities in 1988. Each winner is considered a standard or model by which other collegiate recreational facilities should be measured and from which others can benefit. NIRSA selects and publishes information on these facilities as a resource for campus master planners, recreational sports directors, designers, architects, contractors, and recreational sports students.

"These facilities represent the very best and the very latest in collegiate recreational centers," said Jeff Huskey, Director of Campus Recreation at Stephen F. Austin State University and Chair of NIRSA's 2009-2010 Outstanding Sports Facilities Award Selection Committee, which oversees the award process. "These facilities not only provide a location for physical activity, but also create a sense of community on their campus. The students who utilize these fantastic facilities are more successful academically and are more satisfied with their overall college experience."

Recent research backs him up. A 2004 study commissioned by NIRSA and conducted by Kerr & Downs found that participation in recreational sports programs and activities is a key determinant of college satisfaction, success, recruitment, and retention.

To be eligible for an Outstanding Sports Facilities Award, the facility must belong to a NIRSA member institution, must be no more than three years old, total construction costs (excluding design and land fees) must be at least $2 million, and the facility must be more than 20,000 square feet.

The judges are recreational sports directors from member institutions and designers or architects who are associate members. They evaluate each facility on the following criteria: correlation to the campus master plan and mission; intended and actual impact on the recreational program; unique aesthetic or architectural features; the relationship between facility design and staffing; innovative construction materials or methods; sustainable features; and technological benefits for the customer, staff or budget.

Winners of this prestigious award will be recognized at the NIRSA Annual Conference and Recreational Exposition April 20-23, 2010 in Anaheim, California.

About National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA)
NIRSA is the leading resource for professional and student development, education, and research in collegiate recreational sports. Headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon, NIRSA was established in 1950 at a meeting of 22 African-American men and women from 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Dillard University. NIRSA now includes nearly 4,000 highly trained professional, student and associate members throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. Serving an estimated 5.5 million students who regularly participate in campus recreational sports programs, NIRSA members are actively engaged in many areas of campus life: student leadership, development, and personnel management; wellness and fitness programs; intramural sports; sport clubs; recreation facility operations; outdoor recreation; informal recreation; and aquatic programs.

Additional Information and Contacts
For more information on the project including monthly construction photo galleries, facility hours, maps and directions, please visit

For further comments, please contact:
Alicia Crew, Director of Campus Recreation, 850-644-0553,
David Peters, Director of Intramural Sports & Sport Clubs, 850-644-7698,

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