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Exploring New Routes

Rendering of New Climbing Wall

By: Mary Yemma Barnhart, associate director

NC State Wellness and Recreation’s momentum has never been stronger. The $45 million, 82,000-square-foot Wellness and Recreation Center is under construction and expected to open in the fall of 2020.

The addition includes more than 25,000-square-feet of fitness center space, outdoor functional training areas and sprint ramp, fully-functional teaching kitchen designed to educate students about nutrition and healthy cooking and climbing center.

Reaching 48’ tall and being visible from all four levels, the climbing center will be a signature feature of the new facility. Designed in collaboration with HOK, CRA and Entres-Prises, the climbing center will include a modular hold wall with 13 climbing lanes along with an expansive bouldering area.

A modular hold wall gives the flexibility to create custom routes in varying difficulty. Routes receive a grade from the Yosemite Decimal System. Grades range from 5.5 – 5.12.

A 5.5 route is comparable to climbing a ladder. A 5.12 route involves advanced techniques such as balance, stamina, body placement and hand and foot movement. This route is difficult because of the size of holds and the body movement required to complete the route.

“We are so excited for a modular hold wall with a contemporary style of plastic holds to add to our current faux rock wall,” said Erin Heiser, coordinator of outdoor adventures. “This style is more common throughout climbing gyms and will allow a better experience for beginner climbers.”

A new climbing center highlights one of the many features of the Wellness and Recreation Center.

The bouldering area will have a training space to assist in strengthening a climber’s grip and dexterity. Hangboards and other equipment such as a campus board provide upper-body training and finger strength for climbing-specific movements.

The climbing wall will include varying angles and disciplines with traditional top rope routes, auto belays and more advanced areas for lead and speed climbing, a new Olympic sport at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

As planning continues, Heiser will attend a route-setting certification and student-employees will be trained to set modular hold walls and learn how to manage a contemporary climbing facility. Wellness and Recreation is looking forward to bringing awareness to this exciting sport.

Rendering courtesy of Entres-Prises

Private support of the new Wellness and Recreation Center will make an immediate impact on students’ success and their ability to live healthy lives now and in the future. 

Naming opportunities are available and range from $25,000 to $1 million and above, providing exceptional visibility and branding, along with the chance to make a difference for a broad range of students. 

Naming opportunities of the climbing center is available at $1.5 million.

For more information, please contact:

Nicole Peterson
Executive Director, Development
Division of Academic and Student Affairs