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March 16, 2007
Contact: Molly de Ramel
(401) 863-2476

Robert A.M. Stern to Design Jonathan Nelson Fitness Center

Plans are underway for the construction of Brown University’s new Jonathan Nelson Fitness Center. A $45-million project, the 65,000-square-foot center will be designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and will transform the University’s fitness and recreation offerings. The center is slated to open in 2010.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The internationally renowned firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects has been selected to design Brown’s new 65,000 square-foot fitness center, which will provide state-of-the-art recreational areas as well as student-oriented community spaces. It is scheduled for completion in 2010.

Jonathan Nelson, a 1977 graduate of Brown, emeritus member of the Brown Corporation and Brown parent, provided the lead gift for the $45-million project, which will be named the Jonathan Nelson Fitness Center. In addition to the $30 million cost of the building, the University plans to raise $15 million for an endowment to cover the center’s annual operations and maintenance costs.

Built within the Wendell R. Erickson ’19 Athletic Complex, the Nelson Fitness Center will feature a three-court gymnasium, five fitness and dance studios, and 11,900 square feet of dedicated space for free weights and cardiovascular equipment. The project will allow Brown to offer more than 100 physical fitness classes, as well as increase space and scheduling options for club sports, intramurals and open recreation. The design will also include a new quadrangle and a lobby atrium, which will serve as social gathering areas for students. Originally announced in September 2004 at a more modest scale, the scope of the project was increased significantly last spring in recognition of the need on campus for an adequate amount of first-rate fitness facilities.

Nelson expressed confidence that Robert A.M. Stern Architects would produce a unique design for the center that would contribute to the University’s culture and architectural heritage. “Robert A.M. Stern Architects is one of the great architecture firms in the country, and I am delighted they will be working on this important and exciting project,” he said.

“The new spaces provided by the Nelson Fitness Center will transform the extracurricular experiences of Brown students by giving them increased opportunities to meet, learn from each other, and build a shared sense of community,” said Russell Carey, interim vice president for campus life and student services. “Brown has an obligation to provide students with an environment that fosters a balanced and healthy lifestyle, and this new facility is essential to that purpose.”

The existing facilities within the Wendell R. Erickson ’19 Athletic Complex currently serve the Brown varsity sports program, which includes 37 intercollegiate teams and more than 900 varsity athletes. Approximately 3,500 students take part in intramural programs; 2,700 students, faculty and staff register for physical education classes; and as many as 1,800 members of the Brown community seek physical recreation every day.

“In addition to enhancing the University’s fitness and recreation offerings, the Jonathan Nelson Fitness Center will have a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of our students and the greater Brown community,” said Michael Goldberger, director of athletics. “We greatly appreciate the support for this project and all of the wonderful new opportunities it will bring.”

Robert A.M. Stern Architects

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is a 270-person firm of architects, landscape architects, interior designers, and supporting staff. Over its 38-year history, the firm has established an international reputation as a leading design firm with wide experience in residential, commercial, and institutional work. An industry leader in the design of energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable buildings, the firm has earned international recognition and numerous awards and citations for design excellence, including National Honor Awards of the American Institute of Architects. The firm has designed buildings on many American college and university campuses, including Dartmouth College, the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, Yale University, Columbia University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan. The firm’s Rodgers Recreation Center at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., opened in 2000.

Robert A.M. Stern, practicing architect, teacher, and writer, is dean of the Yale School of Architecture. As founder and senior partner, he personally directs the design of each of the firm’s projects. Working with Stern on the design of the Nelson Fitness Center is Associate Partner Gary Brewer, whose experience includes the Spangler Campus Center at the Harvard Business School and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.