The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness is the large, shiny building we all know as our campus recreation center. Most students are extremely proud and rave about the towering testament to the growth of UNCG this past millennium, and for good reason.
The Kaplan Center features many amazing components, such as a 54 foot climbing wall, seven basketball courts, a mat room for practicing martial arts, every piece of workout equipment imaginable and even a swimming pool with a sauna. These features show that the Kaplan Center is not your average campus recreational facility. However, there was a time before the Kaplan Center where our recreation center was much more relatable to that of the average University’s.
Built in 1992 and designed by O’Brien Atkins Associates, the Student Recreation Center was the official campus recreational facility here at UNCG. It was designed as a large three court gymnasium, with each court being able to function for basketball, volleyball and numerous games of badminton.
There was also another single court that was designated to be used for basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer and aerobic exercise classes. The Student Recreation Center included a racquetball/handball court as well as a space for weight lifting exercises and a lounge room with equipment that can be checked out. Another interesting feature of the Student Recreation Center was its proximity to the golf course, softball fields, tennis courts and recreational football field, which essentially made them a part of the facility.
You have very likely seen the Student Recreation Center as it was conveniently located on campus at 1510 Walker Avenue close to South Aycock Street. It’s location allowed both freshmen at the Moore/Strong dorm and upperclassmen at Jefferson Suite to walk to the Center. The Student Recreation Center served as UNCG’s official recreational facility for 22 years, closing in the year 2014 to accommodate with the upcoming opening of the Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness.
Despite no longer serving as the students’ recreational facility, the old Student Recreation Center still serves many very valuable purposes for the campus. Currently, the old Rec Center’s primary function is now for the Middle College at UNCG.
The Middle College is an alternative to being an upperclassmen in high school. The Middle College allows for high school students to take college level courses at an actual university while technically remaining a high school student receiving credit towards both their diploma and their degree at the same time.
It is interesting to say that the old Recreation Center probably is fulfilling a greater purpose than it previously did as an educational facility. However, the old Rec Center is still able to fulfill its original recreational purposes for a number of the Spartan Athletic Teams to utilize the facilities for secluded practices and training. While regular undergraduate students no longer get to directly experience it, the Student Recreation Center still holds many useful functions for our campus.
Unfortunately, the old Student Recreation Center gets undeservedly discredited when compared to the chic and modern Kaplan Center. The old Rec Center played a positive role in the history of UNCG, even if the Kaplan Center today is in fact the slicker, more updated version of its predecessor.