University of Delaware
UD's Carpenter Sports Building has been named a recipient of the 2014 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Award.


Carpenter Sports Building recognized for design excellence


10:06 a.m., April 28, 2014--Since reopening its doors last August after a $25 million addition and renovation, the Carpenter Sports Building continues to serve a growing number of University of Delaware community members seeking to stay healthy and fit.

Now, the popular campus fitness and recreation destination, also known as the Little Bob, has been named a recipient of the 2014 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Award. 

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NIRSA advocates the advancement of recreation, sport and wellness by providing educational and developmental opportunities, generation and sharing knowledge and promoting networking and growth for its members. 

The award, presented at the 2014 NIRSA Annual Conference and Sports Exposition, held April 23-26, in Nashville, Tenn., recognizes the innovative designs of new, renovated or expanded collegiate recreational facilities of NIRSA members. Hughes Group Architects, project architect for the renovation and addition, also was honored.

Named in honor of R.R.M. Carpenter Sr., a former member of the UD Board of Trustees and long-time benefactor and supporter of the University, the Carpenter Sports Building hosts the UD men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams and serves UD club and intramural sports. It also houses recreational activities for students, faculty and alumni, and for the community.

Alan Brangman, vice president for facilities, real estate and auxiliary services, said the award is a great honor because it puts UD in the company of colleges and universities offering state-of the-art facilities to their students, faculty and staff. 

“The University of Delaware gets exposure on the national stage by getting this award,” Brangman said. “When it comes to recruiting staff and students, that is always a good thing.” 

The 45,000-square-foot addition, which includes new workout areas, group exercise room, a student lounge and an indoor track, helps to meet student expectations of what a contemporary college recreational facility should offer, Brangman said. 

“If you look at any top line exercise facility, commercial or institutional, they are providing equipment and workout facilities in line with what we now have in the Carpenter Sports Building,” Brangman said. “They are also offering social spaces as part of the workout experience, and we now do that as well.” 

The 167,000-square-foot building, which also includes the Harry W. Rawstrom Natatorium, two gymnasiums, racquetball courts, a rock-climbing wall and locker rooms, continues to be popular with all users, said Jacob Olkkola, associate athletic director for Recreation Services.

“The facility has been a huge success with the entire campus community,” Olkkola said. “We received over 280,000 visits during the fall semester alone.” 

The biggest benefit from the student-driven project has been the increase in space and the number of pieces of equipment which means visitors no longer have to wait in long lines, Olkkola said. 

“A facility like this is a game-changer in terms of increasing the quality of fitness opportunities on campus,” Olkkola said. “The project was long overdue and we are thrilled to see it completed.” 

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson

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