Outdoor Adventures moves into new space

May 28th, 2014 | By | Category: 2014, Campus News, Issue, May 23

For 43 years, Campus Recreation’s Outdoor Adventures program has helped extend education at UNL into the great outdoors. On May 5, the program began a new era as the 13,000-square-foot Outdoor Adventures Center at 930 N. 14th St. opened for use.

The new building — which is roughly four times larger than the former location within the Campus Rec Center — includes a world-class indoor/outdoor climbing structure and bouldering gym; an expanded shop for bike repairs and rentals; UNL’s first outdoor bike lockers; 24-hour shower access to members; outdoor gear rentals; and meeting space to plan Outdoor Adventures trips and hold related training classes.

“This new building is a huge statement about the possibilities you can find at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln,” said Jordan Messerer, assistant director for Outdoor Adventures. “Our goal here at Outdoor Adventures has always been to hook people with fun first and, through that fun, we educate them through the unique experiences we offer. That will continue and be expanded in this new building.”

The number of Outdoor Adventures trips offered by Campus Rec has at least doubled in the last 10 years, Messerer said. In 2013, the program hosted more than 40 of the adventures.

“During spring break alone this year, we had students surfing in San Diego, two groups backpacking in Utah and a trip canoeing down the Green River to the confluence of the Colorado River,” Messerer said.

The new indoor/outdoor climbing wall has five times the climbing opportunity over the old wall, growing from five ropes in the Campus Rec Center to 25-plus in the new building. It offers a variety of climbing opportunities, from amateur to veteran, and includes a 10-foot-tall bouldering area inside. The wall also allows for a variety of training opportunities, including rescue scenarios at various heights.

The interior wall has already drawn regional attention as more than 120 competitors participated in the Flatland Climbing Competition on April 12.

“They were all very impressed with the climbing wall,” Messerer said. “They are professionals and many said they’ve never seen a facility like this on a college campus. The closest climbing walls like this are in Kansas City or Des Moines, and those would be in specialized climbing gyms.”

While the new wall draws attention, the bike shop keeps quietly expanding its service to campus.

The bike shop started in 2003 as quick repair stations outside the Nebraska Union. The concept was to promote the Outdoor Adventures program while performing simple repairs, primarily inflating tires and lubing chains.

“Members of the campus community started coming to our door asking if we could work on their bikes, so we expanded services to help,” Messerer said. “Last year, we had around 3,000 job tickets completed. And that doesn’t include the number of people who come in for simple things like pumping air and lubing chains. It would be twice that total if we tracked everyone who came in the door.”

The new, dedicated bike shop includes both repairs and rentals.

Lauren Larsen, a trip leader for Outdoor Adventures, said that the new building is a space where faculty, staff, students and the public can come to challenge themselves.

“We offer people a chance to get outside and escape the streets of Lincoln,” Larsen said. “Here people can really get exposed to things in their backyard that they might not have ever thought was possible.”

The entire facility is a project of the ‘Yes 2 Better Rec Centers’ referendum approved by UNL students in October 2010.

For more information, go to http://crec.unl.edu/outdoor.

Troy Fedderson | University Communications

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