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Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) programs in the College of Science and Health are primarily housed in Mitchell and Wittich Halls. In addition, numerous outdoor venues bring academic, athletic, intramural, and recreational sports programs to students and the community.
The original physical education building on the UW-La Crosse campus is Wittich Hall, which has been designated as a Historic Building by the state. Opened in 1916, this facility has undergone numerous upgrades and remodeling projects to reach its current configuration. The Department of Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation and the Adapted Physical Education program have their offices on the first floor and conduct many classes in the building. Recent upgrades to Wittich include the Musculoskeletal Research Center/Strength Training Center, Therapeutic Recreation-Leisure Lifestyle Center, a technology enhanced classroom, and a large multipurpose room. Various campus and community groups use the swimming pool, gymnastics center, and the gymnasia.
Mitchell Hall was constructed in 1965 to accommodate significant growth in the preparation of physical educators and to meet the expanding needs of the intercollegiate athletic program. On a typical day, this facility opens at 5:00 a.m. and is fully utilized until 11 p.m., making it one of the busiest buildings at UW-L. The offices of the College Dean, Director of University Graduate Studies, the Departments of Exercise and Sport Science, and Health Education and Health Promotion, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, Intercollegiate Athletics, Sports Camps and Clinics, Adventure Programs, the Wisconsin Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD), and Recreational Sports are housed in Mitchell Hall.
The Mitchell Hall gymnasium seats 2,880 spectators for intercollegiate athletic events and 3,500 for commencement and concerts. This area can be reconfigured by closing the moveable walls to accommodate three independent teaching stations. The swimming pool and diving area are used to teach swimming and lifesaving, while remaining one of the fastest racing pools in the conference.
The field house is the most popular area of Mitchell Hall with its 40,000 square feet accommodating a climbing wall, golf and batting cages, 12 volleyball courts, 12 badminton courts, 4 double and 2 single tennis courts, as well as a 200 meter indoor track. The Strength Center offers free weights, Magnum fitness machines, and numerous pieces of cardiovascular equipment. The facility is also open from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. and is available to the university community for a semester, academic, summer or annual fee.
Several teaching and research laboratories are located in Mitchell Hall, including the Human Performance, Biomechanics, Athletic Training, Motor Learning, and Instructional Technology labs. The dance studio, wrestling room, and racquetball courts round out the activity space within the building.
In addition to the indoor facilities, college programs utilize 11.63 acres that surround the Veteran's Memorial Stadium for academic, athletic and recreational sport activities. The stadium is the home to the Eagles football team and seats 2,849 in the main grandstand and another 1,700 on the visitor's side and portable bleachers. The 9-lane, 400 meter track complex is one of the finest track and field facilities in the state. This facility has hosted several NCAA Championships and continues to host the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Track & Field Championships every June. The Stadium Complex also houses the Veteran's Hall of Honor meeting room.
Adjacent to the stadium is the tennis complex , comprised of 16 doubles courts that are grouped in quads and enclosed with wind screens. To the North of the main campus are the baseball and softball fields that are utilized by the intercollegiate teams, the Stars of Tomorrow Youth Baseball Tournaments, and La Crosse Parks and Recreation summer leagues. Also, located in this area are additional intramural fields and our very popular Outdoor Adventure/Ropes Course.
Mike Durnin, Director of Facilities