The University is creating a new wellness and recreation facility on the current site of the Sewanee bookstore. Plans for the project call for breaking ground this fall and opening the facility during spring semester 2020.
The Wellness Commons will house the Sewanee Outing Program (SOP), the Lee and Dorothy Thomas Wellness Center, a convenience store, and a grab-and-go café. The Thomas Center will occupy most of the lower floor, along with the SOP offices. A fitness center will occupy the space where the main floor of the bookstore is now, with most bookstore functions being relocated to the Sewanee Village.
The plan to develop a new space for fitness, health, and recreation is particularly welcome news to students. As the student population has grown significantly over the past decade, the Fowler Center has been challenged to provide enough exercise space for students. In addition, the existing University Wellness Center is located a short distance from central campus, next to the hospital. The new project adds a fitness center next door to McClurg Dining Hall and brings wellness to the campus core.
“Students have asked for this,” says Marichal Gentry, dean of students. “Having a new facility dedicated to health, fitness, and wellness places at the center, both literally and figuratively, an essential element of students’ lives that plays an important role in their success and academic, personal, and social development.”