February 22, 2021

Two CannonDesign Collegiate Recreation Buildings Names NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities

We are proud to share both Boston College’s Margot Connell Recreation Center and University of North Carolina Charlotte’s University Recreation Center have been named 2021 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities.

Each year, NIRSA recognizes the most innovative designs of new, renovated, or expanded collegiate recreational facilities of NIRSA member institutions. This year, NIRSA selected just 10 projects across North America for the prestigious honor.

The full list of this year’s NIRSA OSF recipients is available online. Here is more on each of our award-winning projects.

Boston College Margot Connell Recreation Center
The Margot Connell Recreation Center is a truly unique facility both rooted in the tradition of Boston College’s collegiate gothic architecture and infused with leading-edge 21st century programming space and amenities. Standing four stories tall, the 244,000 sf center is a beacon for the campus that redefines the future of fitness, recreation and wellness for the campus.

Deeply connected to the college’s master plan and mission, the building is in line with Boston College’s principles around wellness, inclusivity and student life. The building is designed to welcome all students through diverse programming, design choices and amenities. The building offers students and staff to play, exercise, compete, gather with friends and more. It is the result of a highly collaborative design process uniting Boston College leaders, students, staff, design partners and builders.

As key school officials explained during the design process, “This building elevates campus happiness. It’s a place on campus where people can come connect around shared human goals to advance health and wellbeing.”

University of North Carolina Charlotte, University Recreation Center
Promoting student health and wellness is wired into the UNC Charlotte’s mission and campus DNA. The institution fully recognizes elevating student success and experience is anchored in campus recreation and its facilities, programs and services. The school’s new University Recreation Center is tangible evidence of UNC Charlotte’s commitment to this mission and student and staff health and wellness.

A dynamic hub for campus recreation, the 148,000 sf center is the university’s first facility fully dedicated to campus recreation. With roots all the way back in UNC Charlotte’s 2010 master plan, the project is viewed as an essential component in advancing the campus and its ability to serve current and future student populations. The facility responds to this vision, growing student demand and enrollment and fills a significant void in UNC Charlotte’s student life experience with a wide variety of recreation offerings.

During the project’s programming period, the collective team engaged stakeholders, visited leading facilities across the country and surfaced key lessons learned from their peers. The team also tackled key design challenges around building stacking using 3D visualization and efficient design strategies that translated into over $2 million in value-added features.

The dedicated facility empowers today’s students and can adapt or expand to meet future needs. As UNC Charlotte’s Director of Recreational Service Jim Walczyk explains, “This facility improves the university community’s experience at UNC Charlotte with increased opportunities for healthier lifestyles through physical activity and a variety of programming in a singular, dedicated facility.”