Final-phase renovations bring IM Building to new heights

Callie Curley
January 20, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For students who use the Intramural (IM) Building on campus, it’s no secret that big changes are underway in the form of renovations and additions.

Since May 2014, a wide array of improvements have been made to the IM Building, funded almost entirely through the student facilities fee paid by all University Park students.

The three-phase process has brought on major developments in the on-campus facilities.

Those using the IM Building in early 2015 noticed updated locker rooms, a new fitness center and the installation of offices for Campus Recreation staff as Phase 1 came to a close. Phase 2, which began during Summer 2015, focused on updating gym spaces and extending the indoor running track.  

Now, the third and final phase of IM Building renovation is slated for completion in August 2017. New amenities include an indoor turf field, climbing wall, and wellness promotion area, as well as additional multipurpose rooms and other facilities to accommodate club sports and adventure recreation programs currently taking place in White Building.

From the beginning, the goal of this project has been to create a student-centric recreation space,” said Laura Hall, director of Campus Recreation, a department of Penn State Student Affairs. “We are really excited about this final phase of renovations because it includes innovative new spaces. In addition, we worked closely with campus partners to provide a more holistic wellness experience.” 

Climbing Wall

A new addition to the IM Building, the climbing wall will be visible when driving along University Drive. The climbing wall will feature 16 lanes ranging in difficulty from beginners to advanced, including climbing cracks. A real-rock teaching element will also be available for additional practice and hands-on experience.

As with all Adventure Recreation projects and programs, safety will continue to play a major role in the climbing wall and its use.

“Every person that comes to the wall will have to go through our orientation and how to belay a partner on the wall,” said Sam Wright, coordinator of Campus Recreation for Adventure Recreation. “Once they’ve completed this, they are able to climb with a friend whenever they want.”

In addition to individual use, students will be able to sign up for additional clinics and workshops to learn lead climbing. Students can also compete in climbing events and participate in organized climb times.

“We’ve collaborated with the construction and architect firms on the project to provide a sensationally aesthetic facility,” said Wright. “We hope these new features will provide a place to climb, socialize and build community here on campus.”

Wellness Promotion

A pre-existing space being renovated as a part of Phase 3, the wellness suite will feature two areas: The Center for Fitness and Wellness, and the Wellness Center, in collaboration with the Department of Kinesiology and University Health Services, respectively.

At the Wellness Center, students will be able to take advantage of free, peer-based wellness services based on nutrition, sleep, stress, and healthy relationships.

“Our objective with the Wellness Center is to assist students in setting goals and learning new strategies to improve their health,” said Linda LaSalle, associate director of educational services for University Health Services.

The Wellness Center will also feature a relaxation room with interactive biofeedback software tools to help students relieve stress. These resources will be available to students on a walk-in basis whenever the space is open.

Students interested in working as wellness peer educators in the Wellness Center will have the opportunity to apply online later in the spring semester.

Student-Centered Recreation

At the completion of Phase 3, those who visit the IM Building will have access to an updated gym space, an entirely new, indoor turf field and a number of multipurpose rooms throughout the building.

As current secretary of the men’s basketball club, junior Carter Knight has seen the complete transformation of the IM Building, beginning even prior to Phase 1. His experience, both with the Penn State IM Building renovations as well as the facilities in which the basketball club plays across the country, have made him an asset in sharing student input on the new features throughout the renovation process.

“The new changes in the IM building will be an awesome addition for students, staff and faculty,” said Knight. Penn State's focus on renovating their recreational facilities shows that they putting an emphasis on the health of the student body, and that's very important for college students.”

By the end of this renovation period, students can also expect to see more classes and activities being offered in the IM Building. Many classes currently being held in White Building will also be relocated to the IM Building once renovations are complete.

“We really considered student’s needs during this project and student input has been an important part of the design process throughout the entire IM Building renovation,” said Hall. “Once the project is complete, students will have access to a comprehensive facility with state-of-the-art spaces for recreation, health and wellness activities."

To view the current stage of renovations or catch a glimpse of what features and facilities will be available at the close of Phase 3 in August, visit

  • Indoor Turf Field Rendering

    An indoor turf field and bouldering wall can be seen in this rendering of the latest IM Building addition. 

    IMAGE: Rendering provided by Mortenson Construction. Building design by Moody Nolan.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 19, 2017