Brenham, Texas
37,700 SF

The Kruse Center has quickly become the center of campus at Blinn College in Brenham. The project was made possible through a generous gift from the Kruse Family in honor of their parents. With this new addition to campus, students now have a place to focus on wellness, as well as a place to gather. The Kruse Center includes: a gymnasium with basketball and volleyball courts, complete with retractable bleachers to accommodate tournaments and other events; a multi-purpose room overlooking the gym to host private events and serve as a group exercise room; office space for the new Recreation Director and staff; an indoor track; cardio and weight rooms; and a student lounge area called the Pirate’s Den (named in reference to their mascot, the Buccaneers), with food and beverage options.

Interior design choices in the Kruse Center also reflect the school’s Buccaneer mascot. The front desk is shaped to mimic a boat, entry flooring is a light shiplap style, entry walls have a textured wave pattern, the Pirate’s Den is complete with a nautical-themed chandelier, large windows throughout give the sense of being outdoors, and the entire space utilizes materials of blue and white, the school’s colors, to foster collegiate pride and identity.

Since the opening on December 2, 2017, visitation has more than doubled (compared to daily visitation at the previous gym) amongst students and local community members. The indoor track, modern weight room, and multipurpose room are unique features to Brenham and have been heavily utilized, providing a safe and cool place to work out in the hot Texas weather and a source of revenue for the college by offering community memberships.

“Students have also found a sense of place in the Kruse Center,” reports Kristen Westbrook, Coordinator of Campus Recreation. The new recreation center has become the central place to socialize, do homework, play a pickup game, or grab a late night snack. She feels there is a new sense of community that has emerged around the Kruse Center as students have become more focused on productive ways to expend their energy in a space that they are proud to call their own.

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