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Blinn board reviews Brenham campus master plan, approves Kruse Recreation Center construction

Center will aid campus recruiting efforts, offer student learning opportunities outside the classroom

October 5, 2015

Kruse Recreation Center

The Blinn College Board of Trustees reviewed its Brenham campus master plan and approved the construction of a new recreation facility that has been part of the campus plan for more than a decade.

The board reviewed and discussed its Brenham campus plan, which includes the development of additional student housing to fuel future enrollment growth and the development of additional student recreation and activity spaces. Blinn’s Brenham campus currently provides on-campus housing for 1,325 of the campus’ 2,421 students, more than any other community college in the state.

To help accommodate the growth across the College district, Blinn recently updated its Bryan campus master plan prior to a $10 million renovation for the current campus on Villa Maria Road and the purchase of 95 acres for the development of a new campus at the intersection of Leonard Road and F.M. 2818 in Bryan. Scheduled to open in Fall 2017, the new campus will ultimately serve as many as 15,000 students.

Kruse Rec Center front viewFollowing its master plan discussion, the board approved construction of the Kruse Recreation Center, a 36,000-square-foot student recreation and activities facility that will include space for general fitness, dance and yoga, kinesiology classes, student organization meetings, weightlifting and fitness space and multi-purpose rooms for community events and meetings. In addition, the Center will feature a gymnasium to host Buccaneer volleyball and basketball games as well as high school playoff games and will host summer camps to increase campus activity in the summer months.

The need for a student recreation center has been consistently cited as a primary need in student polling.

The center, which is expected to break ground in Spring 2016 and be operational by Fall 2017, is made possible through a generous gift from the Kruse family. Siblings Mildred Kruse Bridges, Evelyn Ann Kruse, the late Ed. Kruse and his wife Evelyn, and Howard Kruse and his wife Verlin established the gift in memory of their parents, E.F. and Bertha Kruse.

“The Kruse children have long recognized the educational opportunity Blinn College provides for students furthering their higher education,” said the family in a written statement when plans for the facility were first announced.

“Students can receive a high-quality college education at affordable costs. The new center will enhance the students’ broad college experience on campus.”

Blinn College and the Blinn Foundation will partner to fund the $11.4 million cost of the project. Blinn has committed $5.5 million and the Blinn Foundation will raise the remaining costs.

At its August meeting, the board authorized a request for qualifications for additional student housing on the Brenham campus, and the board sees the Kruse Center as a strong recruiting tool to complement additional housing and increase campus enrollment.

“The Kruse Center will provide Blinn with a tremendous advantage in recruiting and retaining students on our Brenham campus,” said David Sommer, board president. “Facilities like the Kruse Center allow Blinn to attract motivated, high-energy students not only with our outstanding academic reputation, but with a vibrant, active residential community. We are excited for the Kruse Center to become a dynamic location where students can learn and grow outside the classroom.”

According to a 2014 National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association report, 68 percent of students report that campus recreation facilities influenced their decision regarding which college or university to attend and 74 percent reported that campus recreation facilities influenced their decision to continue attending their chosen college or university.

In addition to the health benefits, the study found that students who participate in student recreation facilities, programs or services reported an increase in their time management skills, respect for others, academic performance, sense of belonging, ability to multi-task, ability to develop friendships, group cooperation skills, communication skills, multicultural awareness and problem-solving skills.

Of the 26 other public Texas community colleges that offer on-campus housing, 22 feature student activity, recreation or fitness centers on their campus.

AUDIO – David Sommer, Blinn Board President