White Papers

Making a Champion: Rutgers University Re-Envisions the Elite Student-Athlete Experience

This study highlights the findings from a post-occupancy evaluation that was conducted on the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center at Rutgers University. The Athletic Performance Center represents a new way to support elite intercollegiate student-athletes’ performance, practice, wellness, and recovery. Using interviews and surveys to gather feedback from staff and student-athletes, the researchers assessed the Athletic Performance Center’s impact on the institution, athletics program, and building users. The study found that the Athletic Performance Center’s design improves performance, fosters a sense of community and campus connections, supports recruiting and fundraising, and offers flexibility for operations and programming. Study participants reported that the Athletic Performance Center has become an important resource for the student-athletes, and the building supports the university’s commitment to creating a championship culture. The evaluation also revealed ways in which aspects of the facility’s design proved unexpectedly resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic. By all accounts, the study has shown that the Athletic Performance Center sets a new benchmark for intercollegiate athletic performance facilities.