McDaniel College begins renovation of Gill Center to expand classrooms, research spaces for college’s largest major

Gill Physical Education Learning Center houses the Kinesiology department, formerly Exercise Science and Physical Education

The $6.6 million project is supported by a $3 million grant from the State of Maryland

McDaniel College breaks ground on a $6.6 million project to expand and modernize classrooms and research spaces in the Gill Physical Education Learning Center, known as Gill Center. The project is supported by a $3 million grant from the State of Maryland in addition to private donations. Construction is slated for completion in fall 2018.

The Gill Center renovation facilitates the growth of the college’s largest major in kinesiology, formerly exercise science and physical education. The new name of the department and major, as of July 1, better reflects the program’s academic focus on science in addition to offering courses designed to promote fitness and lifetime wellness. McDaniel is the only independent college or university in Maryland to offer a major in kinesiology.

Gill Center also houses McDaniel’s 24 intercollegiate athletic teams that compete in the NCAA Division III and Centennial Conference, and includes both Gill and Old Gill gymnasiums, Merritt Fitness Center and the Klitzberg Pavilion, as well as faculty and staff offices.

According to Tom Phizacklea, vice president for administration and finance, “28 percent of the student body uses Gill Center for classwork; however it has not had sufficient classroom space. Gill Center houses two Kinesiology laboratories, however they are located in spaces designed for other purposes, with one occupying a former storage area and the other a former weight training room. And, although anatomy and physiology is a requirement of the Kinesiology major, there is no space currently for the labs, which are now located in another building on campus. The number of faculty and staff in both Kinesiology and athletics has also doubled in 30 years.”

The renovation is expected to maximize underutilized space within the existing Gill Center. New classrooms, offices and human performance, neuromuscular, anatomy and physiology labs will be created in reclaimed space under Old Gill. The mezzanine level of Gill Gymnasium will be reconfigured to create additional classrooms and spectators’ areas. Throughout the renovation, Gill Center will continue to be utilized by the campus community.

The Gill Center was built in two stages, 45 years apart. The original gymnasium, which was the third such facility on campus, was built in 1939 for $75,000 and was named for 1910 alumnus, athlete and trustee Robert J. Gill. The second phase, which included a field house, fitness center, wrestling room and locker facilities, opened in 1984. Funds from the Gill estate helped to pay for the new facility. In January 1997, Old Gill was rebuilt and refurbished after a fire.

Since 1889 when the college’s first gymnasium was built, the kinesiology department has undergone many changes. It has offered courses in personal hygiene, sportsmanship and discipline; it has supported intercollegiate athletics; and it has taught individuals how to educate others about fitness and health and how to coach athletic teams. Currently, intercollegiate athletics is a separate department with its own mission and students’ personal fitness goals are supported by the Merritt Fitness Center. More information about the kinesiology major can be found here.

About McDaniel College

McDaniel College, founded in 1867 and nationally recognized as one of 40 “Colleges That Change Lives,” is a four-year, independent college of the liberal arts and sciences offering more than 70 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 25 highly regarded graduate programs. Its personalized, interdisciplinary, global curriculum and student-faculty collaboration develop the unique potential in every student. A diverse, student-centered community of 1,600 undergraduates and 1,400 graduate students, McDaniel offers access to the resources of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and is the only American college with a European campus in Budapest, Hungary.

Source: McDaniel College

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