If you enter UNO's Dodge Street Campus from a highly-trafficked four-way stop in Elmwood Park and wind you way up University Drive South, it is hard to mistake the prominence of the UNO Health and Kinesiology Building.
With it's sharp-angle roof jutting up into the sky and dynamic window coverings highlighting the campus' eight dimensions of wellness, the sleek, state-of-the-art space serves as a beacon to students, faculty, staff, and visitors from the community as a multi-use space that, despite its appearance, has had an on-campus presence for four decades.
The 240,000 square foot H&K Building is primarily home to the School of Health and Kinesiology, which is part of UNO's College of Education, but also features UNO's Wellness Center, which includes a multitude of services. Located on campus next door to Sapp Fieldhouse and the Biomechanics Research Building, the building is functional and spacious - accommodating up to 400 people in a single room.
Its doors first opened as the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) on Jan. 14, 1980. The effort following a years-long campaign to advance the university's physical education curriculum with access to a new facility that would add to a significantly limited campus footprint for physical education, which, at the time included no swimming pool, no fitness center, classes that were held in the Sapp Fieldhouse, a 'portable' building for other physical education classes, concrete tennis courts, a miniature field used for outdoor recreation events.
In its initial years, students called the building, which added gymnastic spaces, a pool, basketball courts, weight rooms and more, a "marvel," but as with all things, time necessitated more change. Thirty years later, the building went through a renovation and grand re-opening that featured many new additions, including an expanded pool, a rock-climbing wall, elevated walking track, and more.
“The grand opening of the Renovation and Addition of the H&K Building was in 2010,” said Joe Kaminski, director of Campus Recreation. “Approximately 150,000 square feet of space was completely renovated and 90,000 square feet of new recreational and fitness space was added to the H&K Building. “
The importance of that additional square feet has paid dividends for the facility in that it provides students with a multitude of services.
“The H&K Building is a multiuse facility that houses Accessibility Services Center, Campus Recreation, Counseling and Psychological Services, Nebraska Medicine – UNO Health Services, and the School of Health and Kinesiology,” Kaminski said. “The services, programs, and academic classes provide the students, faculty, staff and community members (in some cases) opportunities in each of the eight dimensions of wellness (Emotional, Environmental, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Physical, Social, and Spiritual).”
Along with the services it offers, what many people may not know are the different membership services the building offers.
“Students paying University Program and facilities fees are automatically members of Campus Recreation,” said Kaminski. “Faculty and staff can “try out” the programs and facilities of campus Recreation for two weeks for free.”
The HPER facilities are also available to any active duty service members on leave for free. Any active duty service member with proper documentation that they are on leave can utilize UNO’s state-of-the art recreation and exercise facilities.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.