Worcester State Wellness Center Opens

Worcester State University Wellness Center

Worcester State University Wellness Center

Boston – Worcester State University celebrated the opening of a new $52.6 million Wellness Center, a landmark component of a $200 million capital development program that has touched every campus building. Designed by ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge for the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and the University, the LEED-certified facility includes a 1,500-seat gymnasium for sports competitions and a two-level fitness center. The general contractor is Newton, MA-based W.T. Rich Company.


The new 101,000 square foot Wellness Center replaces the 58-year-old Lancer Gymnasium, built in 1958 when enrollment at Worcester State was 400 students.


The new complex will host varsity and intramural sports and provide flexible space for fitness and health activities, community events, and university gatherings. It offers a two-court multi-purpose gymnasium, an elevated indoor running and walking track, a 9,000 square-foot student fitness center with cardio and weight training equipment, two academic classrooms, three multi-functional exercise rooms for aerobics, dance and yoga, offices, and numerous student amenities.


“The Wellness Center completes a physical transformation of our campus into a more student-friendly place,” said University President Barry M. Maloney. “Our aim is to keep students connected to campus and, therefore, in school and on a path toward graduation. This facility allows us to offer a full range of recreational and varsity sports opportunities, more classroom space, and a new campus quad. It will undoubtedly be the new heartbeat of the campus,” he said,

The Fitness Center and its surrounding green space are the culmination of a decade-long $200 million campus modernization investment and completes a transition Worcester State has made since 2000 from a commuter college to a university with a substantial residential population and 24/7 campus life that will benefit commuting and residential students alike. In 2000, the school was about 20 percent residential. Today, close to 40 percent of its 6,000 full-time undergraduate students live on campus.

“The new Center will be a hub for student life and campus activity day and night,” said Philip Laird, AIA, architect and the Worcester State project principal for ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge. “Health and wellness is integral to the student experience today on every campus, and we are seeing a steady increase in universities investing in athletic, fitness and wellness facilities.”


The Wellness Center is the fourth Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building on the Worcester State University campus. It incorporates energy-saving features including a solar-heated hot water system, rainwater harvesting and reuse, LED lighting, high efficiency boilers, and lighting sensors that respond to occupancy changes.


Funding and project oversight was provided by The Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM)– $25 million of which was authorized in the state’s 2008 Higher Education Bond Bill. The remainder of the funding for construction was provided by the Massachusetts State College Building Association, which financed $15 million, and the University.