The $23.5 million Willmore Center, the main health and wellness facility at Ripon College, opened in August 2017 and was dedicated in October during Homecoming. Willmore Center already has had a huge impact on the campus and surrounding community.
Students hang out, study, exercise, attend classes, and participate in fitness workouts. Additional intramural sports have been added, and games can be held simultaneously with varsity practices. The facility has been host to a variety of new events, performances, camps, and tournaments. In just a few short months, more than 300 community members have joined as members.
Ripon College will host the 2018 Midwest Conference Indoor Track Championships February 23-24, 2018.
Willmore Center was built in part with a $14.3 million long-term, low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development division and with private donations. It houses the athletics and exercise science departments; the Agnesian HealthCare Athletic Training Center and physiology lab; a 9,000-square-foot fitness center and cardio balcony; three fitness studios featuring WELLBEATS; three high-tech classrooms; gymnasiums; a pool; dining and study spaces; locker rooms; modern offices for intramural and coaching staff; and recruiting and club spaces.
The new 65,000-square-foot field house is home to Ripon’s indoor track and field teams. It features one of the best NCAA-regulation indoor tracks in the state of Wisconsin and four multi-purpose performance courts which include netting for competition basketball, volleyball, and tennis.
Willmore Center is named for alumna and Honorary Life Trustee Dena G. Willmore, Class of 1967.
Ripon College President Zach Messitte said community support for the project “raises up Ripon College in the community,” and, in return, Ripon College has had a significant impact on economic development in downtown Ripon. “A building like this is a game-changer,” he said, “and really has made a difference.”