Come Out to Play

Woman on racket court

“It’s an idea I’ve had for years,” shares Dave Bertsch, Director of Facilities and Property Management at University Woods. In thinking about the spaces on campus that were available for resident use, there were not many that aren’t frequently booked for programming. But a building in the corner of the University Woods campus that formerly held the Resale Shop had been serving as an operational storage space for the last few years. “As much as I didn’t want to give up the storage,” Dave says with a smile, “it made sense to give the space back to residents and make it an amenity.”

In 2019, Dave consulted with Life Enrichment Director Stephanie Burris and Vice President of Campus Operations Julie Holden and submitted a proposal to the Oakwood Foundation to convert the ‘warehouse’ into recreational space.

The new Oakwood Recreation Center contains 2,500 square feet of gym floor, two regulation-size pickleball courts, a regulation-size shuffleboard court, halfcourt basketball, and nets that can be set up to hold volleyball or badminton matches. The space is large enough that multiple games and activities can take place simultaneously.

“It made sense to give the space back to residents and make it an amenity”

“Some residents were surprised to hear that we were including half-court basketball in the plans” says Dave. “They didn’t think it was something that residents would use, but there is a resident who has played every single morning since it opened.”

To use the Recreation Center, residents can reserve time slots through the front desk, but can also use it on a ‘walk-in’ basis if it isn’t reserved. Eventually, the vision is that the space will be available for staff to use as well, though there’s no timeline for that as of yet.

In addition to the court space, there is a locker room that stores equipment needed for activities, along with storage for backpacks or other gear. Once visitor restrictions are lifted, Dave sees the space being something that residents and their families can rent out for events and gatherings, so a kitchenette was included in the floor plan as well.

The conversion of the space was funded entirely through a grant from the Foundation, so it is a space made possible by donors.

The reviews are in and the Recreation Center is a hit! Dave shares, “It’s been really great to hear the positive response from residents; they’re so happy to have this new space.”

Couple on racket court

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