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Award Winner - May 2013

Missouri State University Bill R. Foster & Family Recreation Center

Springfield, Missouri






S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Cannon Design in St. Louis

Size: 98,500 square feet

Project Cost: : $26 million

Quick Tour:

  • Basketball courts
  • MAC (multiuse activity court)
  • Weight-fitness center
  • Group exercise rooms
  • Indoor climbing/bouldering wall, outdoor climbing area
  • Indoor fitness/activity pool
  • Wellness suite
  • Administration space

Students at Missouri State University played an integral role in the design of the Bill R. Foster and Family Recreation Center—a 98,500-square-foot facility that is a meeting place for the campus community, a focal point for campus recruitment, a symbol of health and wellness for the community, as well as an iconic building for Springfield.

The new center features basketball courts, a MAC (multiuse activity court), a weight-fitness area, group exercise rooms, a jogging track, a climbing/bouldering wall, an indoor fitness/activity pool, a wellness suite, an outdoor bouldering area, administration space and more.

In addition, one of the unique features of the $26 million recreation center is the campus pass, which did not exist before. The diagonal pass points at one end toward the student union, and at the other end toward the campus arena and the arts center. The new path connects three major activities: social gathering, recreation and wellness and athletics, and fine arts performance.

But, even before you enter the building, you can experience what it has to offer. The exterior of the center boasts custom stone panels that have been scaled to a massive size that is suitable to the building's scale and aesthetically sympathetic in tone to the campus' limestone architecture. To boot, in-grade linear LED lights line the pedestrian path that cuts through the building.

Meanwhile, the interior is defined by the university's colors, maroon and white, with coordinating accents applied in colored glazing, flooring and other materials. The jogging track passes laminated glass windows looking to the campus with maroon-colored interlayers, giving the "cut" through the building a distinctive glow at night.


Meanwhile, on the eastern edge of the center, the King Street walk expands into a new plaza, placing the recreation center in dialogue with the adjacent dining pavilion. The walk connects the academic core of the campus to residence halls to the north. The facility's northern and southern facades help define campus streets and provide structure to linear spaces on campus that lacked definition before.

Students with disabilities also were a part of the planning process for the new center by helping to identify needs for accessible entrances, universally accessible interior spaces, high contrast flooring that signals changes in spaces, signage and minimal fixed furniture.

Overall, the design of the recreation center exceeded functional and operational expectations—revitalizing and expanding recreation programs, as well as strengthening the campus culture.

Moreover, the recreation center is pursuing LEED certification, with projected energy savings of 25 percent over buildings of similar design. Recycled materials and other efficiency measures were used in the construction as well.




W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

"Very elegant and simple building form with sleek contemporary spaces. Clean use of color and graphics adds a nice flavor to the experience of each of the program spaces."

Troy Sherrard

"Nice bold exterior forms, great use of materials inside and out, and exceptional palette of colors and graphics make this an exciting project not just to use but to observe. Great amenity for Missouri State."

Bill Massey

"Loved the delightful dance of the interior materials, colors and forms. A very dramatic and fun interior experience."

Tom Poulos

"The floor plan is driven by the views to the mountains. Organization works well in capturing these views and creating openness throughout the plans."

Reed Voorhees



A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Contractor: DeWitt & Associates

Aquatic Consultant: Counsilman/Hunsaker



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