2011 News Articles
New fitness center the cornerstone of current Rice Center renovations

New fitness center the cornerstone of current Rice Center renovations
April 27, 2011

Phil Brozynski
(630) 829-6094

Rice Center MAY2011Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University has begun work on a new and dynamic health and fitness facility within the Dan and Ada Rice Center that will attract talented new students, increase service to current students, faculty and staff, and foster a greater awareness of the need to maintain personal health and wellness.

The facility will encompass more than 11,000 square feet dedicated to cardiovascular and strength training. The renovation project also includes a new sports medicine training facility, a Pilates/yoga studio, offices and locker rooms.

"We are thrilled to be able to serve our students, staff and faculty with the addition of a comprehensive fitness center on our campus," said Mark McHorney, Director of Athletics at Benedictine University. "When completed, this will be one of the finest inclusive facilities on a campus in our area.

"The renovation will allow for new partnerships across campus to flourish with the goal of enhancing the experience of our community and athletics." he added. "The center will provide our sports teams with the tools to compete for conference championships year in and year out. In the end, it will be an experience unique to Benedictine, which is important to the University."

The new fitness center will feature a 7,500-square foot lower level dedicated to cardio and circuit training that would allow patrons to complete all levels of training and fitness activities. The cardio center will feature elliptical trainers, treadmills and stationary bicycles. The center will also include a private studio and advanced training facility.

"The new sports medicine facility will rival any Division III facility in the country," said Benedictine head athletic trainer Nicholas Grahovec. "It will be equipped with two therapeutic tubs – one hot and one cold – state-of-the-art electric modalities including light therapy, and several taping and evaluation tables to accommodate the growing number of student-athletes."

A 4,200-square foot strength training mezzanine will provide users with a dedicated space to build the strength necessary to compete on an intercollegiate level, compete in amateur-level athletic competition or battle their neighbors for supremacy on the tennis court. The additional weight training area will contain both free weights and strength training equipment to cater to a variety of users.

Athletic teams will benefit from the additional equipment, and students, faculty and staff will have an area where they can work toward their own fitness goals.

"The center will be used by all students, not only athletes, for educational, recreational and healthy living activities," said John Morris, Assistant Director of Athletics. "This project will modernize the facility and make it far more competitive to schools of similar size and population."

The renovation of the Rice Center began in January 2010 with the installation of a new hardwood floor, giant scoreboards and island baskets in the basketball/volleyball arena. Installation of a new 1,700-seat telescopic bleacher system, including 400 preferred chair-back seats, was completed in late August.

The combination of the arena project and the new health and fitness center will greatly aid recruiting, said Keith Bunkenburg, assistant athletic director and head basketball coach at Benedictine University.

"The new facility will have the same effect our arena will have – when a student-athlete walks in for the first time, it will have the 'wow' factor," he said. "Our administration is making a huge commitment to our students and the student-athlete."

DLR Group is the architect on the project and International Contractors, Inc. is the builder. For more information about the project, go to www.ben.edu/renovatingrice.

"It is important that our students, faculty and staff have a first rate experience during their time here," McHorney said. "This renovation signifies the commitment to that experience."


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 53 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate and four doctorate programs. Benedictine University is ranked as a Top School in the Midwest (11th in Illinois) for Master's Universities, 12th in the Midwest (and sixth in Illinois) for Racial Diversity, and eighth in Illinois for Freshmen Retention for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.