AUBURN – Auburn University broke ground Friday, Sept. 23, on a facility that will offer nearly 58,000 square feet of research and office space for the College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology.
Located on Wire Road adjacent to the university tennis courts, the new Department of Kinesiology building will house laboratories conducting a broad range of research relating to human movement, health and performance. The new building, designed by Infinity Architecture of Montgomery, is scheduled to open by March 2013.
Mary Rudisill, head of the Department of Kinesiology, and the Wayne T. Smith distinguished professor of motor behavior, said the new building is designed to meet the varied interests and needs of faculty and students in exercise science, physical activity and physical education and health teacher education.
“We specialize in health and performance-related activities,” Rudisill said. “We are interested in improving health through daily physical activity as well as optimizing performance. Our work can be applied to people of all ages, including everyday movers, those recovering from surgery, athletes, soldiers, marching band members and more.”
The first floor of the new three-level facility will house space for the department’s biomechanics and motor behavior laboratories. The motor behavior lab, which focuses a significant portion of its research on physical activity in children, will open onto a green space for outdoor activity. The second floor will house epidemiology and exercise behavior labs, as well as the department’s TigerFit program, which provides health screenings and fitness assessments. The third floor will feature controlled-access space for muscle physiology, cardioprotection, neuromechanics, sports optimization and thermal labs.
The department also has space in the university’s MRI Research Center for work related to gait and posture analysis, post-surgery performance and rehabilitation, exercise prescription and adherence, sports performance testing and assessment and sports psychology. The department’s Warrior Research Center, which focuses on helping the U.S. Armed Forces improve the physical and technical abilities of soldiers, also utilizes the MRI Research Center.
“We’re going to be able to do experiments that other people cannot do,” said David Pascoe, director of the Thermal and Infrared Lab and Humana-Germany-Sherman distinguished professor of exercise physiology.
Rudisill said the department’s long-anticipated move from its current home to a new building will do wonders for its long-term health and performance.
The Department of Kinesiology earned a number 22 ranking in the National Academy of Kinesiology’s most recent survey of doctoral programs. Rudisill said the new facility should help the department improve its national standing and its ability to recruit and retain top-quality faculty and students.
“We’re growing,” Rudisill said. “We’ve got a lot of great things happening.”
The promise of a new building has created a buzz among kinesiology students.
“I am ecstatic for the students who will have access to this wonderful opportunity,” said Ragan Hart, a senior exercise science major from Cologne, Va. “The new building will provide a thriving and positive learning and research environment.”
The architect’s renderings of the facility can be found at http://ocm.auburn.edu/au_kin.pdf.