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Bison RecWell Updates RAWC, Weight Rooms and Sand Volleyball to Benefit Students

May 4, 2022

Bison Recreation and Wellness is excited to announce numerous improvements and updates to the Recreation and Wellness Center (RAWC) and intramural fields, all with OBU students in mind.

Bison Recreation and Wellness (Bison RecWell) exists to “Engage, encourage, educate and equip our OBU Bison community towards Christ-like wellness in the areas of physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.” This mission is accomplished through the department's main program areas, including wellness, competitive sports and recreation. Bison RecWell provides services to OBU students, employees and the broader OBU community.

Bison RecWell oversees the RAWC which opened its doors in 2007. The 59,500 square foot building includes a full-service fitness center, student leisure recreation lobby and seating area, three full-size hardwood basketball courts, two group fitness exercise studios/multipurpose rooms, an elevated track (1/10th mile lap), 29-foot indoor climbing wall, two racquetball courts, shower and locker rooms, and event room. The RAWC serves more than 2,800 members within the OBU community and hosts multiple sport tournaments and climbing competitions. The RAWC is home to OBU's intramural and club sports programs and facilitates the use of the OBU intramural fields and outdoor sand volleyball courts.

In recent weeks, both the RAWC and intramural fields have undergone several noticeable, positive updates. On the intramural fields, construction is nearing completion of two new competitive level sand volleyball courts. The courts are located on the south end of the intramural fields, between the RAWC and MacArthur Street. The courts will include three light poles with a combined total of eight LED lights, allowing games to take place in the evening and at night, extending the amount of time each day the courts may be utilized and also allowing for evening play in hot months when the sand surface experiences elevated temperatures. The courts will be constructed adjacent to one another in one large sandbox with lines defining the playing boundaries of each court. They will also feature excellent drainage. When the new courts are completed, the current volleyball court area will be seeded and evenly graded to become an adjacent green space.

The sand volleyball courts will feature a recreational competitive standard playing surface. This will allow for competition up through club sports level competition. The goal is to create an intentional space where students, faculty and staff can recreate, feel safe and enjoy campus recreation. The total cost of the sand volleyball project is around $60,000, all of which was donated to the McDowell Family Intramural Program at the RAWC.

The RAWC facility itself has also undergone several recent improvements, all of which are fully funded within the university’s budget. The improvements have been planned for and budgeted for in advance, with the goal of offering the most outstanding recreation and wellness opportunities possible to the student body and OBU community. All updates have also been made with ADA compliance in mind, enhancing the user experience for all guests.

In March, 82 light fixtures throughout the facility were converted to LED lighting. This improvement will significantly enhance the energy efficiency of the RAWC, more than paying for itself in energy savings in just a few years.

Over spring break, new cardio equipment arrived in the RAWC as well. The equipment was acquired through a lease agreement, which will offer advantages over purchased equipment. First, when a machine goes down for any reason, it will be quickly replaced at no additional charge to the facility via the lease agreement. Second, when repairs are possible, they will also be made quickly and at no additional charge. Third, it allows the RAWC to keep the most updated equipment, rotating it out every four years instead of waiting longer as happens with purchased gear.

The RAWC also recently converted one of the existing racquetball courts into a dedicated room for free weights, with new free weights also recently arriving. This is a similar approach other universities and facilities have taken. Two racquetball courts remain available for use.

Bison RecWell also manages the workout facilities in both Agee Residence Center and WMU Residence Hall. This round of updates includes moving some of the weights from the RAWC to Agee. The new cardio equipment lease also includes three treadmills going to WMU. The flooring in the WMU workout facility is being replaced with new rubberized flooring similar to what was previously in the facility. While these two residence hall workout rooms provide ultimate convenience for residents in Agee and WMU, other students may also access these facilities by signing in at the front desk and swiping their student ID to access the workout rooms.

Another important update at the RAWC will take place this summer. In late June and early July, the basketball courts will be resurfaced. While the courts are maintained annually with a sealant treatment, the need for a full resurfacing is due.

The RAWC is open to all current students and employees, as well as employees’ immediate families. OBU community memberships are available at cost for alumni, president's council, concurrent students, graduate students, OBU student spouses, OBU contract employees, and both staff and members of local evangelical churches.

Leanr more about Bison RecWell and the RAWC.