Rejuvenating the Gym

Wellness and Recreation Center Fitness Center

NOTE: This feature appears in the Autumn 2018 edition of the NC State Alumni Magazine. It has been reprinted with permission from NC State Alumni Association.

By Caroline Barnhill ’05

Few buildings on NC State’s campus have seen more generations of students walk through its doors than Carmichael Gymnasium. And while squash courts were all the rage when Carmichael opened in 1961, recreation has changed since then.

“When Carmichael originally opened, students wanted individual fitness rooms that were shut off from everyone else,” says Eric Hawkes, executive director of Wellness and Recreation. “Today, our students want to walk in and see all their options out in the open.”

Carmichael has seen upgrades over the years, but it’s about to get its biggest renovation yet, with a $45 million project funded by student fees. The administration building will be replaced with a larger addition that will incorporate a centralized entrance, additional fitness spaces, performance studios, a new climbing wall and a teaching kitchen. Construction began in June and is expected to be complete in fall 2020.

Student input was part of the design process. A committee including student leaders toured state-of-the-art fitness centers at Kennesaw State and Auburn and sent a survey to the university community. They found that respondents wanted more fitness spaces and equipment and a more open layout with natural light.

NC State students will pay an annual fee of $47.50, approved by the Student Senate, to pay for the project. “You have to give our students a lot of credit. Most of them will have graduated by the time the renovation is complete, but they still voted to increase their student fees to make it a reality,” Hawkes says. “They were willing to pay it forward for the next generation of the Wolfpack.’’