BGSU Rec Center: Still fit and fun after 40 years


Bowling Green State University’s Student Recreation Center celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this
A community resource honored with a Best of BG award and recognition as a NIRSA Outstanding Facility, the
center offers exercise equipment, fitness classes, activity courts, a climbing wall, a track and two
“It doesn’t feel like 40 years, because we just did a renovation four years ago,” said Recreation and
Wellness Director Steve Kampf. “It’s hard for us to feel like this is a 40-year-old building.”
Kampf has overseen the center through restorations and daily functions since 2006. The most extensive
renovations were completed in 2014, and have helped modernize the facility and bring in new, innovative
programs. Notable improvements included upgraded weight and cardio equipment, finger vein readers,
complete renovation of the locker rooms, LED lighting, additional parking and an exterior patio space.
Kampf said that he, along with a team of advisers, visited more than 50 recreation facilities as part of
their research before beginning the project.
As a result of the renovations, the center received LEED certification for its environmental performance
and sustainable design. LEED-certified buildings use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas
Center membership is open to BGSU students, employees, retirees and alumni, as well as community members.
Membership to group exercise classes can be purchased separately.
“I was here when there was no parking lot or air conditioning in the summer, and boy was it hot,” said
community member Ken Gutbrod. “I believed in exercising to stay healthy and this was the only gym in
Gutbrod began his membership in 1994 and still uses his personal locker next to Kampf’s every day. He
said he likes the variety of equipment and knows the people, because the same people come in every day.

“Students visiting the university see the gym and think that this is where they want to go once they see
how nice it is,” he said.
Recreation center graduate student employee Brent Darah became a member in 2013.
“We try to create a comfortable environment for everyone,” he said, adding that this included adding a
secondary entrance for older patrons and those with mobility issues. “I think the center is a valuable
asset to the community because although we are branded as a Student Recreation Center, we offer
programming to our community members, and foster an environment that is welcoming and enjoyable for
In addition to handicap parking adjacent to all facility entrances, the center features chair lifts in
the Andrews and Cooper pools, accessible spectator seating in Cooper Pool and accessible training
equipment in the Weight/Strength Area and Cardio Area.
When summer time rolls around, the center hosts a Kids Camp for children in the surrounding communities.
Kampf said that the camp will be extended to 10 weeks this year due to its popularity and a Spring Break
Camp will take place in March.
“The interesting thing is, once parents put their kids in the camp, they keep them in there from
kindergarten all the way to sixth grade, and we get to see those kids grow up,” Kampf said. “We probably
have students attending the university now that went to our summer camp program.”
One of the other innovative programs offered by the center is the Freshman Wilderness Experience, which
involves a weeklong backpacking or canoeing trip in the summer and a corresponding one-credit companion
course in the fall. This program takes place before incoming freshmen ever set foot on campus and gets
them “acclimated to the institution.”
The center would not exist today in its current capacity without the major initiative that alumnus
Michael Wilcox headed 40 years ago when he formed a student committee that helped to influence the final
interior design and functionality of the building. Wilcox continues to stay in contact with the center.

“We have a great staff and promote a great environment,” Darah said. “I think it shows because we have a
lot of loyal, longtime members who work out at the center daily.”
Center hours, classes, membership and rental information is available online at

No posts to display