Shaping Minds and Bodies:
The New and Improved E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center

By WORTHGROUP Architects & Designers
May 28, 2015

The team of WORTHGROUP Architects & Designers (WGA) with Hastings + Chivetta was selected as the design team for the new E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center project at the University of Nevada, Reno Campus. The new $40 M state-of–the-art 150,000 s.f. center will nearly triple the space dedicated to fitness at the University of Nevada, Reno. The center is a result of an $8 million gift from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation. “Learning and development extend beyond the classroom and the total campus experience significantly contributes to the journey of students toward their future careers and lives as citizens,” said University President Marc Johnson. “The E.L. Wiegand Foundation recognizes the importance of valuing the ‘whole picture’ of our students and investing in resources to nurture mind, body and spirit. The E. L. Wiegand Foundation Fitness Center is going to ensure that our campus more fully integrates the wellness of our students into their daily lives.”

The new fitness center will be a five-story facility offering more than 108,000 square feet of multi-use space for fitness along with a lower level parking garage. Located in proximity to the Joe Crowley Student Union and Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, in the University’s student-centered mid-campus, the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center is envisioned as offering multiple fitness areas for weightlifting, training and a multitude of other fitness classes and activities, plus an indoor, 200 meter, 1/8th mile running track. Three full-court gymnasiums will be utilized not only for basketball, but also other indoor multi-use court sports.

“There is a tremendous amount of research and data that connects student fitness levels to improved cognitive function, academic performance, social networks and engagement on campus, plus a decrease in stress and anxiety.”
– Jim Fitzsimmons, the University’s director of campus recreation and wellness and the Lombardi Recreation Center

Unique design features within the new Fitness Center include a stadium style staircase in the center of the facility which includes both a normal tread pattern as well as a double step section for a maximum workout. The stadium stair will be used to move from one floor to the other as well as an intense stair work out without having to go to a stadium. Another signature design feature is the transparency of the building and the spaces and how they are open to each other. A primary objective for the donors of this project is visibility for those working out to see the views of the campus and surrounding mountains, as well as those outside the facility view the variety of activities inside.

Sustainability also plays a key part in the development of the Fitness Center with the goal of LEED Silver equivalent. In 2008 WORTHGROUP Architects & Designers designed the Athletic Academic Center for University of Nevada, Reno, which was the first LEED certified building on the campus.

Groundbreaking for Wiegand is scheduled for June 17 2015, and the new Fitness Center is scheduled to open to students, administration, faculty and staff in January 2017.