CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Multi-millions worth of construction and growth will take center focus at University of Charleston beginning this summer.

UC President Marty Roth said the institution has a number of renovation and installation projects in store, including a new outdoor fitness court, a new walkway, and a completely-renovated space to house new graduate degree programs.

Roth said the biggest project will be the renovation and repurposing of Gorman Hall to make way for the new Morrison Rehabilitation Science and Athletic Center.

He said it will be a place to accommodate UC’s new occupational and physical therapy graduate degree programs.

Marty Roth

“That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to build new state-of-the-art occupational and physical therapy labs that students will use in those programs,” Roth said.

Along with OT and PT labs, Roth said the center will include a classroom, student study and meeting rooms, and faculty offices.

He said Gorman Hall is currently home to a lot of the university’s athletic departments as well as the campus swimming pool, but Roth said the pool has not been in use since 2020 and UC has not had a swimming program in a few years now.

Roth said the new Rehabilitation Science and Athletic Center will be designed to meet the demand of rehabilitation services in the area.

He said West Virginia’s healthcare industry probably employs more people than any other sector, and that UC is proud to be a contributing factor in that through all of the healthcare program opportunities they have been offering thus far.

He said they are excited to get to add to that profile of healthcare programs through the new rehabilitation programs, which will help fill a gap in those services in the state.

“Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, shows that there will be consistent job openings for new occupational therapists and physical therapists throughout this decade, and more job openings than there are currently students graduating,” said Roth.

He said that multi-million dollar project of transforming Gorman Hall into the new center is expected to be complete by 2026.

UC has so far raised over $10 million to fund the startup costs of the Master of Occupational Therapy and the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs, as well as the renovation work for the center.

The Master of OT program is currently enrolling students now. UC anticipates to start enrollment of the Doctor of PT in the Fall of 2026.

Roth said also in Gorman Hall is the weight training rooms and locker rooms for student athletes which will also be getting renovated, and infrastructure work will be conducted on the building.

Another project that’s currently underway on the UC campus and one that will be completed much sooner is the installation of a new outdoor fitness court through an organization called the National Fitness Campaign. Their mission is to make publicly-accessible exercise and fitness courts available throughout the country.

Roth said they will be installing the fitness court on the back lawn of UC in between the indoor fitness center and their boat house. He said it will be available for public use by simply scanning a QR code.

“There will be a number of different workout options available for them to choose from, and they can workout kind of at their leisure on the outdoor fitness court, so we’re really excited,” he said.

He said that project should be complete by mid-May.

Roth said the outdoor court may particularly be beneficial to students studying in the new PT program.

“Being able to learn how they can assist patients’ recovery and rehabilitation by using kind of free public resources will be really beneficial,” he said.

Finally, Roth said another project the university has begun just this week is renovations to the walkway connecting two of their high-trafficked buildings, Riggleman Hall and the Geary Student Union.

“We’ve had that walkway in place for quite a while, and it was kind of due for some repair work,” he said. “So, we did a fundraising initiative and we will be utilizing the existing structural frame, but constructing a new breezeway.”

He said the breezeway project will be finished by the middle to end of June.

Roth said these projects will all be great additions to improve the student experience at UC, as well as the communitys’.

“We’re always excited when we can do things to benefit our students but also the Charleston community will be able to take advantage of,” said Roth. “We take pride in being Charleston’s university.”