NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Vanderbilt University Board of Trust approved the construction of a multipurpose indoor facility and Recreational Center upgrade on Friday. The project, which is expected to begin later this year and conclude in the summer of 2014, is an effort by the university to improve both the school's sports and fitness facilities.
Construction will involve enhancing the existing Student Recreation Center so that it can serve the entire Vanderbilt community as well as building a multipurpose facility, which will include a 120-yard long indoor practice field, surrounded by a 300-meter indoor track.
The practice field and indoor track will be available to all of Vanderbilt's varsity squads. The multipurpose facility also will be used by club and intramural teams on campus, as well as university students, faculty and staff.
For the Vanderbilt football program, it will present the opportunity for practice and individual workouts on a year-round basis. It also serves as an example that the Commodores are moving forward in competing within the Southeastern Conference from a facility and administrative support stand point.
It follows upgrades to the McGugin Center athletic department offices as well as upcoming improvements to Vanderbilt Stadium this summer.
The recreation center upgrades will include expanding weight training, multipurpose spaces, and cardiovascular and fitness areas, as well as the addition of a four-lane bowling alley that will both support the university's varsity bowling team and provide a new recreational activity. Vanderbilt's women's bowling team has been a national championship contender since its inception in 2006.
Vanderbilt's competitive women's soccer and lacrosse teams will also use the practice field surface.
"We have known for a number of years that the current Rec Center, which was built in the late 1980s, needed to be expanded and modernized, based on surveys we've done of its users," Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for University Affairs and Athletics David Williams said in a Friday release by the university. "We see this project as an opportunity to offer our faculty and staff larger and additional exercise facilities, our students enhanced wellness programs, and our varsity, club and intramural teams increased indoor practice and playing space."
The multipurpose facility increases Vanderbilt's ability to host popular summer camps for children throughout the community. There will also be limited rental opportunities for the Nashville community, such as the hosting of major indoor high school track meets.
Vanderbilt becomes one of the final schools within the Southeastern Conference to announce plans or construct a indoor practice facility. Plans are believed to be underway at the University of Florida and the University of Georgia for a facility. The University of South Carolina approved the construction of a facility last fall.