CENTERS at Moraine Valley Community College

The 113,000-square-foot building supports the college’s athletic program, physical education department, and campus recreation department. To keep the center’s student and employee user fees as reasonable as possible, MVCC opted to supplement student activity fee revenue with a robust community membership program that would support a significant portion of the building’s debt. While the original intent of the membership program was primarily financial, CENTERS inspired MVCC to see the mission-based linkages between maintaining the membership program and the college’s need to have an active, expansive, and beneficial role in the fabric of the community. Thus making “community” an active concept in the MVCC name.

MVCC retained CENTERS, LLC to manage the entire facility and develop a new Department of Campus Recreation. In 2013, shortly after the groundbreaking, and under CENTERS’ leadership, a blend of existing college staff and CENTERS staff came together to create the new department. A student development hiring model was enacted to provide transferable skills and to develop experiences to help better prepare them for their next job. Today, most of the part-time operating staff are current or former students. This blend of community, students, and faculty/staff has truly been a win/win for the college.

Success Stories

  • Recommended design changes to improve operating financial goals. Specifically, the project team recommended to:
    • increase patron capacity;
    • reinforce zones to segregate athletic and academic functions from the fitness center to allow members uninterrupted access to the space;
    • mitigate potential security breaches;
    • reduce staffing requirements; and
    • enhance food service and retail merchandising
  • Assumed responsibility for operating the existing fitness center and seamlessly transitioned it into the campus’s new culture.
  • Without disrupting the College’s current labor agreements, worked with the College’s organized labor representatives to provide employment opportunities for the union members who operated the college’s former fitness center.
  • Implemented a robust marketing campaign to attract a large community membership base. This subsidizes the costs for students and provides a low-cost option yielding robust facilities, services, and programs for the college community.
  • Negotiated agreements with a food-service vendor and janitorial contractor.
  • Used buying power to reduce the cost of equipping the facility.
  • 50% of the center’s 130 employees are current/former MVCC students, exceeding the college’s initial goal of 10%.
  • With over 5,000 community members, the membership sales have effectively mitigated the college’s financial risk, improved community relations and enhanced the college’s brand.
  • CENTERS executed a 9,000 SF capital enhancement to operate a comprehensive youth program; ‘KidRec’ opened in 2016 and is a leading factor in the dramatic increase of family membership revenue and retention.
  • 75% of students surveyed indicated that FitRec is important or very important when it comes to their overall sense of belonging at Moraine Valley.
  • The department took on and expanded the college’s annual 5k event. Participation has increased 1,000% since CENTERS took on the event and it now provides thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for current students at the college.
  • In 2019, CENTERS partnered with MVCC Human Resources to implement a Faculty/Staff Wellness Initiative. Employees received reduced fees to the facility when they reached a targeted number of visits. The result was a 50% increase in usage and correlated improved outcomes via annual health screening metrics.
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Fact Sheet (PDF)

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