Director hired for new Wellness and Recreation Sports Complex
Contact: Nicole Boychuk 381-2741
Posted: 08/29/2006
Share |

To prepare for the opening of its new Wellness and Recreation Sports Complex, The University of Texas-Pan American has selected Dr. Jim Watson to be the facility's first director of wellness and recreation sports.

- Dr. Jim Watson
"Dr. Watson has great experience in the fields of wellness/fitness and recreation facilities. Considering we are building a new recreation complex that will focus on wellness, he seemed to be the perfect fit," said Dr. Jerry Price, associate vice president and dean of students.

Watson officially began working for the University June 14 and was welcomed by faculty, staff, and students during a reception June 15 in the University Center. According to Price, Watson will be responsible for supervising the current intramural and recreation programs. In addition, he will oversee the completion of the new complex and develop wellness and recreation programs to be implemented once the complex opens.

Watson has worked for the state of Indiana since 2001 in the Division of Outdoor Recreation. Prior to that he worked for Purdue University in the Division of Recreational Sports for more than 30 years. He holds three degrees from Purdue University: a doctorate in recreational sports management; a master's in recreation/tourism management; and a bachelor's in general business/recreational sports management.

"The thing that made me want to come to UTPA was that it offered me the types of opportunities and experiences that I have and that I want. This is starting from ground zero in terms of building - growing the program in terms of facilities, services and programs," Watson said. "It offered me the opportunity to deliver that service."

Watson is most excited about the fact that the new facility is something the students have asked for and have agreed to pay for with student fees.

"We (my staff and I) are going to be the ones who carry out the charge that the students have given us," Watson said.

He wants to do a strategic plan each year to make sure they are providing exactly what students want in terms of facility offerings, services, programs, and activities.

"That's key to the continued success of what we hope to get done here at UTPA," he said.

Above, is a rendering of the UTPA Wellness and Recreation Sports Complex.

The new complex, which is set to open August 2007, is being constructed on the southwest corner of Sugar Road and Schunior Street. It will encompass 148,000 square feet and offer a weight and cardio room; three indoor courts, one of which will accommodate both indoor soccer and floor hockey; a climbing and bouldering wall; three racquetball courts; a three-lane jogging track; student lounge; a meeting/training room; locker rooms; and two aerobics/multipurpose rooms.

Also included in the plans is a 5,800-square foot outdoor recreational swimming pool, as well as two each of outdoor basketball courts, beach volleyball courts, and tennis courts. The complex will also have a 56,000-square-foot outdoor area to be used for outdoor concerts, movies, and festivals.

For more information on the new Wellness and Recreation Sports Complex, contact the Department of Intramural Rec-Sports at 956/292-0839 or visit