Recreation brings individuals together and builds communities around common interests. Rarely is that more evident among chosen Facilities of Merit® than it is with the 2018 class of 10 winning projects — which includes campus and community recreation centers, an aquatics center, a sports complex, an intramural building and two YMCAs. Even facilities housing intercollegiate athletics also make ample room for wellness enthusiasts.

Facilities of Merit winners were selected in July by a panel of seven architects at the conclusion of two days of deliberations at AB Media headquarters in Madison, Wis. Next month, the architects, consultants and facility owners behind each winning project will be honored at a reception at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Thanks to all 62 entrants for helping ensure the program’s high level of competition, and congratulations to the 2018 Facilities of Merit. — The Editors

Louisiana State University, University Recreation Center (UREC)


“Playful and fun, this facility really has its pulse on the current state of recreation and wellness trends.” — Emily Parris

Designed around a philosophy of “healthy building for healthy bodies,” the renovation and expansion of Louisiana State University’s 25-year-old recreation facility, UREC, provides much-needed facilities for fitness, wellbeing, aquatics, sport programs and outdoor adventure, in a flexible, connected environment.

“Dynamic and vibrant spaces that are as functional as they are beautiful. My favorite project from this year’s group.” — Adam Bastjan

The expansion was designed and planned to create connectivity and continuity, working with the existing infrastructure and seamlessly connecting the addition, indoor/outdoor program areas and campus recreation spaces. The new outdoor aquatics and adventure center includes two fitness lap pools, a leisure recreation pool that spells out the letters “LSU,” new tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and a new high-ropes challenge course.

The design highlights the intersection of old and new, creating garden wedges where the two buildings meet. These green spaces cut inwards, physically pointing to the heart of the building, where the climbing wall and spiral portion of the running track sit. The elevated track winds through the space like an LSU Tiger tail and incorporates a sprint incline, while also providing connectivity to defined fitness neighborhoods on the second and third floors.

“Great project that has something for everyone. It also strikes a deliberate balance between boldness and reservation.” — Stephen Springs

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