As the Kress Events Center marks a half dozen years of operation as a venue and campus fitness facility, it continues to make good on one of its initial promises: to boost participation by UW-Green Bay students in health, fitness and recreation activities.
New statistics show the Kress welcomed an all-time high of 128,210 member visits during the 2012-13 school year. In the busiest weeks of the fall semester, usage approaches 4,000 visits weekly on a campus of approximately 6,600 students.
Those numbers, of course, pertain only to health and fitness usage and do not reflect annual attendance numbering in the tens of thousands for Phoenix women’s basketball and volleyball, UW-Green Bay and local high school commencements, and other special events.
They do, however, show the results of additional fitness classes and intramural recreation offerings, and increased student use of the expanded weight room, cardio and running track area, which includes a climbing wall (photo).
Jeff Krueger, director of operations for the Kress, says the former Phoenix Sports Center totaled about 60,000 member visits in the year before expansion was completed. The count shot up to 105,899 with the first year of the new and expanded facility in 2007-08.
Group exercise classes are popular, in-demand offerings. Choices run the gamut from aqua aerobics in the Dorschel Natatorium pool to hip hop, kickboxing and ab workouts, and pilates, yoga, high-energy zumba and more.
“Typically during the academic semester we offer over forty group exercise classes per week,” Krueger says. “This current semester we offer forty-eight classes per week.”
Last year, the array of offerings combined to account for 9,000 “participations.”
Growth in intramural participation has been another factor. The 2012-13 totals show 3,632 students on the rosters of 584 different teams — many individuals compete in multiple sports as the seasons progress — and those record numbers are roughly double those of the last pre-Kress year (1,858 on 203 teams, in 2006-07).
The lengthy list of intramural sports during the current academic year illustrates the growth:
- Ultimate Frisbee, indoor/outdoor
- Soccer, indoor/outdoor
- Flag Football, indoor/outdoor/men’s/co-rec
- Basketball, men’s/women’s/co-rec/3v3 tournaments
- Volleyball, 4v4/6v6/sand/indoor
- Badminton, singles/doubles
- Tennis, singles/doubles
- Golf, league and scramble tournaments
- Yard Games, bag toss/washers/bocce ball
- Disc Golf, tournament
- Capture the Flag, tournament
- Fantasy Football
- March Madness Challenge
The list of noteworthy and well-attended events that have taken place in the 4,000-seat events center over the last six years is also lengthy. Among the events:
- Dedication Dinner on the Carol’s Court basketball floor, Oct. 2007
- Grand Opening Concert featuring Switchfoot, Relient K, Ruth, Nov. 2007
- Six consecutive Horizon League Women’s Basketball Tournaments
- UW-Green Bay Freshman Welcome, annually
- UW-Green Bay Spring Commencement, annually
- Southwest, West, East high school graduations, since 2008
- Barack Obama presidential campaign appearance, 2008
- Shawano Sundrop Shoothout holiday basketball tourneys, since 2009
- WIAA girls and boys basketball tournaments
- 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion sendoff (2011), homecoming (2012)
The center has also hosted the annual Jingle Bell Run fundraiser, National History Day Competition involving local schoolchildren, the WPS Solar Olympics, Special Olympics events, the UW-Green Bay Pow-Wow, local swim and gymnastics meets, and various private and corporate gatherings including the Camera Corner/Connecting Point annual meeting.
The website Best Value Schools recently listed UW-Green Bay’s Kress Events Center among the nation’s “20 Most Impressive College Gyms and Student Rec Centers,” rating those completed within the last decade.
The facility is also in the news this week, locally, with the announcement that the Kress is the venue selected to host a concert by super-famous pop star Ke$ha next April 13. The date was booked by UW-Green Bay’s Good Times Programming student organization.