CENTERS at Marshall University

The Marshall Recreation Center opened in 2009 to rave reviews by both students and faculty. The center also serves as a laboratory for students enrolled in courses in exercise science, sports, and recreation. Located at the corner of 5th and 20th Street, this three-story facility offers students and faculty an indoor pool, a four-court gymnasium, a three-lane jogging track, racquetball courts, group exercise studios, a juice bar, pro shop, outdoor deck area, and a three- story climbing wall.

As the largest employer on campus, campus recreation employs students as fitness instructors, personal trainers, building managers, facility assistants, lifeguards, intramural sports officials and supervisors, fitness specialists, outdoor pursuits assistants, and trip leaders. As the project’s manager, CENTERS fully maintains and operates the facility as a separate enterprise from the university. All procurement and expenses are managed through CENTERS’ corporate staff and all building maintenance, repairs, and custodial services are directed by staff on site.

CENTERS also delivers comprehensive programs and services. Its transparent management model is well received by faculty and students alike who remain unaware of this unique contractual relationship. That is the CENTERS way of doing business. In 2011, the Department of Campus Recreation won honorable mention for large-scale signage at the annual NIRSA Creative Excellence Awards.

Success Stories

  • CENTERS worked closely with Marshall’s stakeholders to coordinate a non-recourse financing structure for 100% of the recreation center’s project costs, utilizing a not-for-profit owner under a long-term ground lease with the university. The result was a financially self-sufficient project, preserving the university’s debt capacity and minimizing its credit rating impact.
  • Leading up to the recreation center’s opening in 2009, CENTERS successfully transitioned an existing staff and quickly contributed to transforming a campus culture in a city historically dubbed one of the “unhealthiest cities in America” to a more active, health-focused community. We realized a breakthrough in the second year of operation, thanks to many hours of education, advocacy, and participation with creative fitness, wellness, and community outreach programming.
  • CENTERS markets to five affiliated hospitals surrounding the recreation center. We have made strides in capturing these affiliates through creative marketing and expending extensive sweat equity. This experience has translated into increased memberships.
  • CENTERS staff members mentor student staff to deliver lifestyle modification programming to the community. By bridging experiential learning opportunities for student staff within the surrounding community and on campus, the student staff has been able to learn while also bringing about meaningful change.
  • CENTERS has accrued 300 corporate-sponsored / local business memberships, generating significant revenue in the process.
Campus Website

Fact Sheet (PDF)


Facility Tour