When prospective students tour the University of Missouri-St. Louis, they invariably ask to see the gym or recreation center. And that makes the tour guides cringe just a little.
It's not that UMSL doesn't have one. It's just that the dingy Mark Twain Center is sort of a pale imitation of what's found on most college campuses today. The jogging track isn't elevated. There's no rock climbing wall. No whirlpool. And there's no juice bar dispensing tasty smoothies.
"It's not something we like to showcase," said Alan Byrd, the school's dean of enrollment services. "For a school of 16,000 students, it doesn't meet our needs."
But things will be changing soon, with work already started on a $36 million wellness center that will figure prominently in campus tours once it opens in 2015.