President Lovell announces commitment to reimagined Wellness + Recreation facility on campus

Project will renovate, expand university’s Helfaer Rec Center to bring fitness, recreation, medical and counseling services under one roof

Marquette President Michael R. Lovell at his eighth annual campus address on Thursday, March 3, announced that the university plans to fully reimagine its Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center (Rec Center), located at 525 N. 16th St. on the southwestern edge of campus, as a comprehensive Wellness + Recreation facility. It will bring together the campus’ fitness and recreation facilities with the Counseling Center and the Marquette University Medical Clinic — student-centric services currently dispersed across campus.

The announcement comes just months after an anonymous alumni couple launched a $10 million giving challenge to transform and integrate the university’s student health, wellness and recreation services.

The facility will combine completely renovated portions of the Rec Center, including significantly updated facades with added windows, with a newly constructed three-story wellness tower that will sit in the core of the facility. All interior building systems will be replaced. Using an existing building footprint and some of its structures supports sustainability and fiscal responsibility.

President Lovell says the goal is to complete the estimated $80 million, 180,000-square-foot facility by the end of 2024, contingent on funding.

As with recent campus capital projects, the facility will be funded through a combination of philanthropy, external partnerships and university capital. Additionally, funds collected through an existing recreation and wellness fee that was passed via a student referendum in 2017-18 will be put toward the project.

No groundbreaking date has been set, but key fundraising, design processes and programmatic planning are already underway. Additionally, the Marquette University Student Government has been engaged in the process and are supportive of this project that has such a direct impact on all Marquette students; they will continue to be engaged in the planning stages.

“This will be a transformational project for our campus, particularly our students. Not only is this facility a key part of our Campus Master Plan, but it is also truly about building a culture of wellness at Marquette,” President Lovell said. “When complete, the facility will position recreation, fitness, clinical and mental health services under one roof.”

A campus destination for health and wellness

Designed by St. Louis-based HOK and Milwaukee’s Workshop Architects, the facility will foster community, inclusiveness and engagement, and provide a destination on campus that supports the physical and mental health needs of the Marquette community.

The reimagined facility will be a transparent, light-filled and connected space. Programming in the new wellness tower will include the Marquette University Medical Clinic, the Counseling Center, alcohol and drug recovery program space, and sexual violence prevention space. The design will include several flexible, multipurpose spaces to allow for larger group meetings and additional recreation spaces to create strong connections and collaborations between recreation and wellness-focused departments.

The first two floors of the space will house campus recreation components, with additional recreation spaces extending throughout all levels of the facility. Programming will include a large gymnasium with basketball courts, open fitness space and equipment, a spin studio, group fitness studios, multipurpose recreation courts, tennis courts, a swimming pool, offices for campus recreation staff, locker rooms and a classroom.


Wellness features:

  • 3-story wellness tower
  • Counseling Center with private and group counseling rooms
  • Marquette University Medical Clinic
  • Wellness suite
  • Multifunction recreation studios

Recreation and fitness features:

  • 2 multipurpose recreation courts
  • 4 tennis courts
  • 4 basketball courts
  • 25-yd. swimming pool
  • 2 group fitness studios
  • 1 spin studio

Wellness and recreation fundraising challenge continues

Significant fundraising efforts are already underway. An anonymous couple in December contributed a leadership gift of $5 million and have committed to giving another $5 million once the university community raises $10 million in new gifts and pledges. Their goal is to inspire Marquette alumni, parents and friends to support this signature project.

Donations to the fund can be made here.

Time to Rise: The Marquette Promise to Be The Difference

Marquette’s $750 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, which is the most ambitious in Marquette’s 140-year history, is elevating resources to advance the university’s mission and pillars of excellence, leadership, faith and service. The university has raised more than $566 million to date, amounting to 75% of its goal. More than 53,000 donors have already supported Time to Rise, including 44% of donors making their first ever gift to the university. Throughout the campaign, 112 donors have committed to gifts of $1 million or more.