Drake College Leisure Providers – Campus Rec Journal


mission and vision

Recreational Services is committed to enriching the quality of life on campus by encouraging and providing opportunities for physical, mental and social growth in a healthy environment and world-class recreational facilities. Recreational Services’ innovative co-curricular programs and offerings serve as a link between students and the university experience.


The main recreational facility on campus is the Bell Center. All faculty, staff and students have free access to all recreational services spaces. The Bell Center is attached to the Knapp Center, which is a combined sports and leisure space. All Division I basketball and volleyball games are played at the Knapp Center. Centrally located on campus is Underground Fitness, a student-only gym.

bell center

The Bell Center opened in November 1977 at an estimated cost of $5.8 million. Renovations to the facility included the lobby in 2017 and new curtains and lighting in 2019. Covering over 58,000 square feet, the Bell Center houses both the Recreational Services and Athletic Department offices

Features include a 25-meter, six-lane indoor pool; fitness room with cardio and free weights; gym; Exercise facility with three basketball courts, four volleyball courts, four badminton courts, and four pickleball courts; equipment checkout; changing rooms for men and women; Lounge and sales areas. TRX was recently added in 2021.

Close center

The Knapp Center functions as Drake University’s main athletics facility, but Recreation uses the building’s running track, four racquetball courts, a walleyball court, and a fitness room. The facility hosts over 75 different events each year. This includes trade fairs, concerts and openings.

The 114,000-square-foot Knapp Center opened in December 1992 at an estimated cost of $12.5 million. The first phase of renovation was completed in the summer of 2022. The project involved the refurbishment of existing office space into a new sports medicine and hydrotherapy area.

Field house and outdoor facilities

The Drake University Field House opened in January 1927 and was renovated in August 2013. The 45,000 square foot building features a lawn and is used for track and field club practices and intra-campus competitions.

The indoor/outdoor recreation area has three fields for flag soccer, soccer and softball, a sports club area with a soccer field and several clay volleyball courts. Both the sports fields and the fields of the sports clubs are used by football and ultimate frisbee clubs.

Roger Knapp Tennis Center and Underground Fitness

The tennis center opened in October 1992 for $1.7 million and has six indoor and six outdoor courts. The 48,000 square foot facility is used for track and field competitions and practice, as well as intramural tennis. The Roger Knapp Tennis Center was also renovated in 2022.

Underground Fitness is a student-only recreation area located in the basement of the student center. The space opened in January 2012 and is a full gym with cardio and weight machines.


Recreational Services hosted its first unified intramural indoor soccer league in 2020 and began offering spinning classes to Group X in 2022. Group X offers a variety of free classes for students including yoga, Pilates, hip-hop, muscle mix and more. Tuition is given by students and non-students. Innertube water polo is a campus favorite, and Drake University was crowned the 2018 and 2020 NIRSA Region V Basketball Men’s Champion.

Drake University

The department also offers free body composition and fitness assessments for all students. Recreational Services hosts events such as the annual Employee Olympics, the Student Employee Pre-Examination Luncheon and the Year-End Banquet. The Bulldog Build program focuses on student development through goal setting and various initiatives. In addition, over 140 student employees are individually assessed.

Intramurals includes several creative offerings such as canoe battleship, sand volleyball, indoor flag soccer, and bags. Recreational Services also hosted the State of Iowa Extramural Three-Point Contest in 2022. The competition alternates each year between Drake University, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The department works closely with the School of Health Sciences to mentor one or two senior interns each year.

Fun Facts

  • There is a Pop-A-Shot arcade basketball game in the lobby.
  • All recreational facilities and programs are free for faculty, staff and students to use.
  • All members can bring their family members up to the age of 15 to the facility free of charge.
  • Recreational Services is the largest employer on campus for students.
  • The department employs approximately 150 students each year in the Aquatics, Open Rec, Intramurals and Wellness departments, as well as four full-time staff and two research assistants.

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