A Tuesday celebration of the Phoenix Activities & Recreation Center allowed students and administrators to reflect on expanded programs that are reshaping the Danieley Neighborhood and, more broadly, Elon University’s residential campus experience.
The blueprints and design specs are only a small part of the story.
At 14,850 square feet, the Phoenix Activities & Recreation Center multipurpose recreation facility on the north edge of the Danieley Neighborhood features a gymnasium with a wood floor for intramural activities and large student events. A fitness center, two offices and a catering kitchen round out the amenities.
Since opening in September, the building already has brought together hundreds of students on several occasions – not just from the Danieley Neighborhood, but from across campus, making it the newest hub of interaction at Elon University.
It was the lifelong promise of those relationships that were lauded Tuesday afternoon in a celebration of what has affectionately been called “the PARC” by the campus community.
Food and festivities bookended remarks by top university leaders, including Elon President Leo M. Lambert, Student Government Association President Avery Steadman, Vice President for Student Life Smith Jackson, and Janis Baughman, director of Student Activities.
Speakers praised the many campus offices and programs whose collaboration made the PARC the latest contribution to transforming the residential campus as part of the Elon Commitment, the university’s ongoing strategic plan.
The PARC itself is a reflection of the fast-growing demand from upperclassmen for additional campus housing and corresponding support facilities. Over the past few years, the percentage of Elon students living on campus has grown more than 10 percent.
Lambert noted that the nation’s best universities all have strong residential campuses, and he anticipates the need for more campus housing in the coming years to meet the increased student interest in new residential options.
Housing and other facilities like the PARC do more than shape the physical campus, he added. They encourage deep, meaningful connections between students and faculty/staff, and students and their peers. Lambert then cited many contributions to Elon’s residential campus initiative made by Assistant Professor Cara McFadden, faculty-in-residence for the Danieley Neighborhood, and Jaimie Biermann, the assistant director of Residence Life for Danieley.
“What is special about the residential environment is not the buildings. The buildings only facilitate relationships,” Lambert said. “When you leave Elon, what’s going to be important to you for the rest of your life – believe me – are the relationships that you formed in college. They’ll be terribly important to you decades from now.”
Jackson said the PARC meets three needs of the university: a large programming space for campus-wide events, space for Campus Recreation intramural activities and contests, and space for residents of the Danieley Neighborhood to host dinners, special programs and other celebrations.
“The PARC is a dream come true for many students on this campus,” Jackson said.
Steadman, the current leader of a Student Government Association that made a financial gift in support of the PARC’s construction, described the way in which the Danieley Neighborhood has transformed in the years since she first moved to the neighborhood as a freshman.
She encouraged not only student organizations, but individual students themselves, to suggest programs and uses for the PARC. Steadman added that she can’t imagine what might have been possible for her had the PARC been open when she first moved to Elon.
“The Elon community has worked tirelessly to combine health and recreation, seamlessly, with residential living,” Steadman said. “This facility will have a key role in doing just that.”
Student representatives from the Student Union Board, Campus Recreation and the Danieley Neighborhood Association also shared details of upcoming PARC programs.
To close the celebration, a ticket was drawn to give one Elon student a shot to win $250 in Phoenix Cash by making a half-court basketball shot. Senior Kellen Darmody, a finance and accounting double major from Chesterfield, New Jersey, missed the hoop when his basketball hit the right side of backboard.
He might not have won Phoenix Cash, but Darmody took home another nice prize just for having his name drawn – two tickets to the President’s Box in Rhodes Stadium for Elon’s upcoming home football game against the College of William & Mary.
Open recreation hours of operation:
Monday-Friday: 3-8 p.m. (programming scheduled from 8 p.m. – midnight)
Fitness center hours of operation:
Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m. – midnight
Friday: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. – midnight