University of Southern Indiana

RFWC renovation, expansion underway

Renovations and additions will benefit six USI departments

RFWC renovation, expansion underway

Renovations and additions will benefit six USI departments
8/26/2022 | University Communications
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Drive past the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center (RFWC) on campus and you will notice construction on the building is in full swing. Work—which will include updates to existing space in the RFWC, as well as the addition of office space for several departments across campus—will continue through the year and is expected to be completed in 2024. The project’s estimated construction cost is just over $12 million and is funded by 2019 legislative appropriation, according to Steve Bridges, Vice President for Finance and Administration.

The scope of planned work includes addition of 31,000 square feet of space and renovation of 10,000 square feet of existing space. The addition will extend the building toward University Boulevard, will add a second story and will utilize a portion of the existing parking lot. Two new entryways will be located at the north and south ends of the building and will better accommodate the natural flow of campus pedestrian traffic.

When all is said and done, six departments will transition into the renovated space with a renewed focus on wellness. Early plans referred to the renovated facility as the “Wellness Center,” however, after discussion, it was decided to keep the current name of “Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center” (RFWC), as it will still serve all those purposes.

The RFWC expansion will include space for Counseling and Psychological Service (CAPS), Public Safety, Religious Life, Student Wellness (already located in the facility), University Health Center and University Strategic Communication. All department directors moving to the space have been included in an extensive planning process for the renovation and additions. Designs were made in accordance with the needs and functionality of each department.

“The project centralizes critical University services into one location and creates the ideal wellness center for today’s student,” says Bridges. “Increasing the visibility of these services by moving them under one roof, near the center of campus, will also make them more convenient and accessible for the entire University community.”

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (currently located in the Robert D. Orr Center) will be located on the second floor. Offices and rooms for this department have been designed to offer more privacy for visitors and all offices will be soundproof. The department also will have space to grow in the new space.

    “This move will put us in close proximity to departments who we partner with on a regular basis, such as Public Safety and the University Health Center,” says Robin Sanabria, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services. “Investment in the RFWC displays USI’s commitment to the importance of mental health and the integral role that our CAPS clinicians play in the safety and wellness of our study body.”

    “The physical upgrades of our new space will help to accent the clinical and technological upgrades that have developed in CAPS,” she adds. “The new space will be more appealing and comfortable for students who utilize our services.”

  • Public Safety will relocate from its current location behind University Center West to the first floor of the renovated RFWC. In this office space, more rooms and areas will be provided with the necessary technology for officers to complete work. There also will be areas where Public Safety officers can conduct interviews and set up triage space if needed. Adjacent parking will be set aside for Public Safety vehicles.

    Other additions include a conference room, offices, bike storage and a storm-safe dispatch room so employees can continue to safely dispatch during severe weather.

    “Public Safety is customer-service orientated and with our new office being at the front of the new RFWC, we look forward to being more visible and accessible to the campus community,” says Steve Bequette, Director of Public Safety. “We are very pleased our Public Safety staff will have state-of-the-art accommodations to conduct University business while also being a major resource to all students, faculty and staff.”

  • Religious Life, currently located in campus apartment housing, will close the distance between its offices and campus with the move. Located on the first floor, the department’s space is set to include a meditation room along with new office space.

    “Religious Life moving to the RFWC is exciting, and we are looking forward to interacting more collaboratively with the other offices we will be joining,” says Chris Hoehn, Director of Religious Life. “It is going to be a great experience for our students to engage with many of the areas of wellness in one location.”

  • Already a part of the Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center, Student Wellness will benefit not only from a new space, but also being closer to other departments for collaboration. “The RFWC project will allow for greater synergy and collaboration between departments, enhancing our ability to support multiple aspects of students’ wellbeing—physical, emotional, social and spiritual,” says Catherine Champagne, Assistant Program Director, Student Wellness. “I am excited to use the new space to create more opportunities for students to be involved in promoting health and wellness across campus.”

  • Leaving behind the basement level clinic space in the Health Professions Building, the University Health Center’s (UHC) space will be located on the second floor. The UHC will have a much needed, expanded footprint, with added provider rooms, additional clinical exam spaces, separate waiting rooms for USI employees and students, and nurse stations in the exam rooms. Current space will be absorbed back into the Health Professions Building during upcoming renovations.

    “We think our upcoming move will be a great benefit for the students, faculty and staff we serve,” says Melissa Attebury FNP-C, Deaconess Nurse Practitioner who serves patients at the UHC. “The move will make us more centrally located, and it will allow for easier access to our clinic.

    “We are excited to be in the future RFWC,” she adds. “It will be nice to be closer to all the departments we work with—RFWC, CAPS and Religious Life. We think it is wonderful to have these services for the USI community and to have mind, body and spirit all in one location.”

  • University Strategic Communication, currently located in the Publishing Services Center with office locations in other areas of campus, comes together in one suite located on the second floor of the renovated facility, and will include a large state-of-the-art photography studio, sound booth and video production room. The space will also include workstations for current and expanded student worker opportunities and a separate entrance with a waiting area for those visiting the photography studio.

    “Our team is excited about having a new home in the RFWC,” says John Farless, Director of University Strategic Communication. “The Publishing Services Center has been a good home for us for many years, but as we continue to grow, this new space will better accommodate our needs and will place us in a more centrally located area on campus. It will also give Creative and Print needed space to expand its operations in the PUB.”

Bridges said plans for other spaces left vacant by departments moving into the renovated RWFC have not yet been finalized.

Other overall additions to the RFWC include a new Quiet Lounge, which will be an open, two-story space (similar to what it was before), a smaller meeting room that can accommodate two to four people and an expanded game room.

Work is estimated to be complete by 2024. While construction is under way, an alternate entrance to the RFWC has been established at the Aquatic Center —check the RFWC Facebook page for a helpful video! At this time, construction will not affect any offerings at the RFWC, and all services are accessible.

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Rendered Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center

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