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K to Dedicate Fitness and Wellness Center

Fitness and Wellness Center at Kalamazoo College

The $8.7 million Fitness and Wellness Center at Kalamazoo College will include a weight and cardio fitness area to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff.

Kalamazoo College will dedicate a new 30,000-square-foot Fitness and Wellness Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Academy and Catherine streets in Kalamazoo.

The $8.7 million structure was funded entirely by donors including alumni, parents, friends of the college and several foundations, who contributed to the Campaign for Kalamazoo College, the most successful campaign in the college’s history. The facility will include:

  • a weight and cardio fitness area to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff
  • three flexible-use multi-purpose rooms
  • two racquetball courts and a squash court
  • a dance studio
  • expanded lockers for the Kalamazoo College tennis teams and for general use
  • an office and health assessment room for the campus fitness and wellness director
  • space for the George Acker Tennis Hall of Champions

“For years to come, this building will represent energy efficiency, sustainability, educational innovation and hands-on learning, as well as health and wellness,” Kalamazoo College President Jorge G. Gonzalez said.

In lieu of LEED certification, Kalamazoo College students Michelle Sugimoto ’17 and Ogden Wright ’16 provided LEED-like auditing in the design, energy and sustainability criteria that inform LEED certification. The students are members of the Kalamazoo College Climate Action Network, a student-organized group that advocates for sustainable and effective measures to address climate change.

Sugimoto and Wright were chosen from about a dozen student applicants to work on the project after the college’s Sustainability Committee recommended diverting the estimated $50,000 cost of formal LEED certification toward a student audit, training students in the project design, energy and sustainability criteria that inform LEED.

The students collaborated with the project’s design and construction teams — TMP Architecture and Owen, Ames, Kimball respectively — to assess factors such as water and energy efficiency, proximity to public transportation and air quality.

The actual cost of their training was a fraction of the cost of LEED certification, allowing K to invest in a 12 kilowatt solar panel array installation on campus and offset 5 percent of the new fitness center’s energy costs.

“It’s a case of the administration sharing a challenge with students and saying, ‘Join us,’ ” Associate Vice President for Facilities Paul Manstrom said. “Buildings constitute a large part of the amount of waste produced in the United States each year. Putting the money up front saves the college money in the long run, while at the same time giving these students an incredible learning experience.”

Gonzalez, Sugimoto, Wright, Manstrom, Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo College Trustee Amy Upjohn and Director of Fitness and Wellness Jen Bailey will participate in ribbon-cutting ceremonies.