Every time UNC Charlotte undergoes a large construction project, students have two main questions, “Why do we need this?” and “How much will this cost me?” This has shown to be true in regard to the $66 million University Recreation Center located next to the Popp Martin Student Union.
With over 100,000-square-feet, Belk Gym is the University’s main area for fitness. The area boasts “3 multipurpose hardwood basketball and volleyball courts, 2 badminton courts, table tennis, a 5,000 sq. ft. fitness center, dedicated locker rooms and a 25 yd. x 25-meter pool.” Alternatively, the Student Activity Center also provides students with another 5,000 square feet of dedicated cardio and weight focused fitness space. This may seem impressive at first glance, but it fails to suit the needs of the student body. Both fitness centers can only comfortably hold 80 people, which means that it would be overfilled if a mere .2% of UNC Charlotte’s 29,000 students decided to work out at the same time. To put those percentages into perspective, UNC Greensboro has the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness, a 216,000-square-foot gym with a 23,000-square-feet dedicated fitness center. UNC Greensboro only has around 16,000 students, yet its gyms double UNC Charlotte’s in size. UNC Wilmington has a fitness center that includes 114 cardio pieces of cardio equipment and over 10,000-square-feet of weight training space for a student body of less than 15,000. Both universities have smaller student populations yet have more space dedicated to fitness.
Although the construction of the University Recreation Center will be paid for through money saved due to the “to the retirement of the Barnhardt Student Activity Center debt fee and the pending reduction of the Student Union debt fee,” students should still expect a slight rise in their university fess over the next few years. By the year 2021, each student will pay an extra $50 a year in fees to cover the operating costs of the new facilities.
The University Recreation Center will be over 148,000-square-feet in size which will more than double UNC Charlotte’s space dedicated to fitness. It will include one indoor and one outdoor heated pool, an elevated indoor running track, four multi-purpose courts and several rooms dedicated to cardio and strength training equipment. The recreation center will also include five multi-purpose studios which will hold over eighty fitness classes per week. Set to open in the fall of 2019, the University Recreation Center will help alleviate gym traffic and offer new amenities to UNC Charlotte Students.
For more information regarding the University Recreation Center, visit