The Department of Campus Recreation began operating out of McCormick Hall in the 1960s, providing recreation opportunities for the student population of Illinois State University. The program moved to 220 North Main Street in Normal, which later served as the Outdoor Adventure Center. After a search for a larger facility, Campus Recreation found a new home at the site of a former ice rink on the corner of Beech and Willow Streets.
After significant renovations, the Student Recreation Building opened on March 14, 1988. This new facility provided space for cardio and weight training, racquetball, sport courts, and group fitness programming. The building also served as the home for Recreation Services, as it was known at that time, until its closure on December 15, 2010.
The department is currently known as Campus Recreation, and resides in the Student Fitness Center and McCormick Hall, enjoying its home in the heart of campus.
In May 2006, Illinois State University Board of Trustees authorized $2.2M in funding to enable Illinois State to establish budgets, appoint architectural and Engineering consultants, conduct feasibility studies, and initiate the design process for the new Student Fitness Center and McCormick Hall. The Board of Trustees approved the construction of the Student Fitness Center and McCormick Hall at a cost of $43.9 million on October 26, 2007. By July 2008, the project amount had increased to $49.6M. In 2008, Dunn-Barton residence halls were razed to make way for the Student Fitness Center. Pieces from the residence hall buildings were retained and used as features in the new Student Fitness Center and McCormick Hall, serving as a reminder of our history. The 170,000 square foot facility was planned to house Campus Recreation, Health Promotion and Wellness, and the School of Kinesiology and Recreation.
The new facility consists of basketball courts, cardio/strength training areas, an indoor track, group fitness spaces, a pool and a climbing wall. The center also includes classrooms, laboratories, and office space for the School of Kinesiology and Recreation. The design phase was anticipated to take approximately 20 months, with construction expected to take approximately two years beginning in fall of 2008. Construction of the project was completed in fall 2010, and hosted a special student preview event on January 9, 2011 before officially opening on January 10.
McCormick Hall was named after Henry McCormick in 1930 and was opened in 1925. Henry McCormick was a "beloved and respected teacher of history and geography" who came to Illinois State in 1869. He became Vice President in 1892, taught until 1901, and served as Vice President until his retirement in 1912.
McCormick Hall was originally built as a gymnasium. By 1958, the needs of the student population had increased and exceeded the constraints of the facility and McCormick Hall underwent remodeling in 1961. With the construction of the Student Fitness Center, McCormick Hall underwent extensive changes. Re-opening in January 2011, the building maintained its historic façade on the exterior, while providing a variety of interior changes to create a state-of-the-art learning facility for Illinois State students.