Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center
Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center is the athletic facility at Illinois College that was built in 2003. This facility houses many amenities that the college was not offered previously, including but not limited to locker rooms for women's teams and racquetball courts. This facility replaced Memorial Gymnasium which was built in 1951.
Backstory and Context
"Illinois College will have one of the most impressive athletic facilities we've ever designed" says Project Manager Don Keane of Hastings and Chivetta Archetects. Until 2003, Illinois College's athletics were originally housed in an old "1950s facility that didn't have a whole lot of windows and a design common when there were no women's teams." Before Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center, this Memorial Gymnasium housed all athletic events. Memorial Gymnasium was built in 1951 and did receive an annex decades after it's construction. However, this gymnasium was not fulfilling the needs of the college, as a growing number of students were participating in varsity athletics, intramural athletics and fitness activities. Memorial Gymnasium did not even accommodate for women's athletics. Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center was a much needed renovation.
Throughout the construction of Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center, Hastings and Chivetta attempted to preserve the unique architecture that stood before the elaborate complex. "The final design enveloped the existing football bleachers and press box and produced a raised spectator platform now buzzing with banners and barbecues during home football games." With limited space to work, the construction company managed to strategically squeeze the facility between the original football and baseball stadiums. Although this facility is rather new, Illinois College's history is still preserved within Bruner Center.
Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center offers many amenities to all students at Illinois College. This three-level structure includes 1,600 seat Sherman Gymnasium, "a field house with three multipurpose courts inside a 200-meter track, an eight-lane competition pool accompanied by a sauna, a steam room and 30-seat hot tub, two racquetball courts, a multipurpose room, and a weight and cardiovascular fitness center." This facility also includes office cubicles, classrooms, a concession stand, a dining bar overlooking the football field, a training room, and a wellness center.
"Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center Opening Flyer." 2003. Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives.
Photo of Construction of Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center. Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives.