The design concept for the Simon Center responded to an ambitious building program and a tight budget, and the resulting facility accommodates drop-in recreation and intramural sports. The two main components — the multi-sports forum and the natatorium — sit side by side; surrounding these are support spaces and amenities.
This concept reduced construction cost by providing for extraordinary high-floor area efficiency. Importantly, the close proximity within the building facilitates control, enabling the building to be operated with a minimum of staff and enhances the recreational experience by encouraging same-visit participation in the many activities offered by the facility.
Completed in 1981, the Simon Center was one of the first student recreation centers in the country, setting the standard of centers to come. The Simon Center was lauded by the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) as one of the top facilities in the country.