Top 10 College Rec Centers in the US


In addition to having top of the line sports, or multimillion dollar classroom facilities, universities are pushing a new aspect of campus life: recreation centers. More and more universities across the country are remodeling and building new facilities as a drawing point for prospective students. And it’s a good strategy too. Students want to be able to have a place to take a break from studies to relax and workout. There’s no better place on campus to do this than in top of the line facilities that boast large cardio centers, free weight rooms, personal trainers, pool, rock wall, and leisure areas, just to name a few.

Health Fitness Revolution decided to explore the best of what college recreation centers have to offer because in addition to a solid education, university is when students often learn about their health and fitness patterns as adults. We researched what others online had to say their top picks for college rec centers then did research of our own. Some important factors taken into account are: how new the building or renovation is, square footage, special amenities, and Leed Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; for buildings that reduce Carbon footprint).

There are so many wonderful college rec centers that it was a hard choice to narrow it down to top 10. But here is Health Fitness Revolution’s Top 10 College Recreation Centers:


University of Texas-Austin

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  • Rec center composed of eight different buildings on and off campus-the most popular being Gregory Gym
  • All eight buildings account for more than 500,000 square feet indoors and 40 acres of outdoor recreation
  • Olympic sized pool
  • Gregory Gym is 250,000 square feet; 2 acre aquatic center has five pools
  • among the cardio selection there are basketball courts, an archery studio, dance classes, personal training, handball and racquetball courts
  • Memberships are available to some members of the public


Morehead State University

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  • Leed Silver Certified
  • 100% funded by students
  • $24 million dollars
  • 100,000 square feet
  • 3 basketball courts
  • Competition sized pool with zipline and vortex
  • Indoor track
  • Racquetball courts
  • Swimming pool with sundeck


Colorado State University

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  • Leed Gold Certified
  • Renovated in 2011 to add 70,000 square feet
  • Olympic sized indoor pool with its own rock wall, lazy river and hot tub
  • Offers classes from ballroom dance to tae kwon do
  • “33 acres of outdoor sand volleyball and basketball courts, an inline rink, and playing fields”
  • “Climbing facility with 55 linear feet of bouldering, two free standing roped climbing… and an indoor swimming pool boulder”
  • Access for students only


University of Arizona

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  • Leed Platinum Certified
  • 108,000 square feet
  • Three basketball courts
  • Olympic sized pool
  • Provides outdoor adventures: canoeing on Colorado River, caving, backpacking and wilderness yoga retreats
  • The  lobby offers “retail sales, food service, a computer lab, and tutoring service, plus several seating areas throughout the facility”


University of Illinois

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  • 340,000 square feet
  • 35 foot climbing wall
  • ⅕ mile indoor track
  • Two 50 m swimming pools
  • 35 person sauna
  • 12 racquetball courts
  • Instructional kitchen
  • 150 seat auditorium
  • Has a cafe: “Courtside Cafe”


University of Maine

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  • $25 million
  • Paired with New Balance for New Balance Center
  • 20 person hot tub
  • Open to the public
  • Sauna
  • Can rent skis and snowshoes for the DeMerritt Forest that is right outside the facilities: 15+ miles of trails
  • 4 strength training areas with 150 pieces of cardio and weight equipment
  • Open floor plan


Auburn University

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  • 240,000 square feet
  • Five story fitness tower
  • ⅓ mile indoor track that corkscrews through the facility; elevated in different areas to give joggers a change of pace
  • Golf simulator
  • Game room
  • Elevator shaft in the center in the building that houses live plants for a peaceful environment
  • 120 classes per week for group fitness
  • 100+ cardio and weight machines
  • Indoor soccer, volleyball, badminton, and basketball courts


University of Missouri

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  • Around $40 million completed in 2005
  • Boasts an “indoor beach”: a pool with a continuous waterfall, whirlpools and a lazy river
  • Offers a variety of club sports from soccer, to archery, to ice hockey and quidditch.
  • Has a “jungle lobby” which is a quiet place for students to study either at high bar stools or leather recliners. And the room is decorated to feel like a jungle
  • Scroggs Peak is the 35.5 foot climbing wall that offers 5 different courses
  • Indoor track
  • Downtown Brewer: area decorated to look like a downtown where you can walk and find leisure, specialized fitness and healthy programs


University of Cincinnati 

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  • 200,000 square feet
  • Suspended track, 4 lanes, ⅛ mile
  • Lap pool, leisure pool, whirlpool and diving boards
  • Over 21,000 pounds of free weights
  • 111 cardiovascular machines
  • Bouldering up to 10 feet
  • Rock climbing


The Ohio State University

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  • $140 million facilities
  • 569,459 square feet
  • Five level cardio and weight facility
  • Aquatic center with varsity pool, whirl pool, lap pool
  • 4 volleyball courts
  • Jog/walk rack
  • Squash/volleyball courts
  • Kitchen
  • Partnered with Nike to offer the lounge: Two, pool tables, A foosball table, Four flat screen TVs, Three gaming stations, including the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Kinect for XBox 360 memberships not available to general public


Health Fitness Revolution by Samir Becic Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization, to make the world a healthier, fitter place, please donate!


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