VCU’s Cary Street Gym Wins Recreational Sports Facility Award

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Virginia Commonwealth University’s Cary Street Gym this week was named one of the year’s National Intramural-Recreational Sports Associations’ (NIRSA) Outstanding Sports Facilities (OSF).The annual award, which this year recognized nine facilities from around the country, is presented to facilities NIRSA considers to be functional and architectural standards or models “by which other collegiate recreational facilities should be measured and from which others can benefit.”

“NIRSA is what recreational sports strive to be the best in,” said Tom Diehl, director of VCU Recreational Sports. “We received this award because of both our excellent design and programming.”

The Cary Street Gym opened at 101 S. Linden St. for the spring 2010 semester. The project involved the renovation of an existing 32,600-square-foot facility, which was the former City Auditorium building, and the construction of a three-story addition of approximately 95,000 square feet.

It features two heated pools, a water slide, a multi-person whirlpool spa, a rock climbing and bouldering/caving wall, an 18,000-square-foot cardio/weight center, a four-court gymnasium, a three-lane indoor running track and  an activity center with indoor turf.

The $47 million facility was renovated and constructed to meet LEED Silver standards for sustainability.

“One of the best things about Cary Street Gym is that it is a dedicated recreation facility,” said Diehl. “The students can come every day and they know it will always be there because it is for them.”

Since the complex was completed, student membership in recreational sports has jumped from 40 percent to 75 percent, which Diehl says is quite significant for an urban campus.

Winners of the prestigious OSF award were recognized at the NIRSA Annual Conference and Recreational Exposition March 27-30 in Tampa, Fl.