Abilene Christian University (ACU), Abilene, TX, celebrated the grand opening of its $21 million student recreation center last Friday.

The 113,000-square-foot facility includes a fitness center with strength and cardio equipment, two pools, a bouldering wall, an indoor running track, two group exercise studios, several indoor and outdoor sports courts and a juice bar.

The building also will house a number of classrooms and offices for the university’s medical and counseling care services and for education related to wellness and physical fitness.

The university broke ground on the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center, named for a former ACU president and his wife, in March 2010. Unlike many university recreation centers today, construction of ACU’s Money Center was not funded through student tuition or fee increases. In a statement announcing the center’s opening, a university official said the project was financed entirely through generous donations.

“Recent tuition increases have not been applied toward construction costs for this magnificent building,” Phil Boone, the university’s vice president for advancement, says. “The center is the result of ACU alumni and friends committing to make a difference in the lives of our students and this campus.”

Although their donations enabled its construction, ACU’s alumni and friends, at least initially, will not be able to use the Money Center. Memberships for the new facility currently are limited to students, faculty, staff and emeriti “at least for the first year, while we’re getting a feel for how it will be used,” says Jean-Noel Thompson, ACU vice president and dean of student life.

Current students automatically are members of the new center; other permitted affiliates may join for a fee that ranges from $20 per month to $120 per semester. There also is a charge of $60 per semester for unlimited group exercise classes, applicable to any member who wishes to participate.