Athletic Complex Expansion Project

The Gary and Rachel Sumers Recreation Center will provide the entire campus community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – with a place to exercise, play, socialize and celebrate.

exterior rendering of Sumers Recreation Center

The Gary and Rachel Sumers Recreation Center

Scheduled to open in 2016, the center will add more than 60,000 square feet to the Washington University Athletics Complex, including the Gary and Rachel Sumers Fitness Center. The fitness center will offer a variety of fitness classes such as spinning, strength training, yoga and cardio fitness.

The new state-of-the-art fitness and recreation facilities will enhance efforts to encourage the WUSTL community to develop healthy lifestyles and habits for life. The center will have much-needed space for intramural sports, exercise classes and recreation and fitness activities.

About the Design

The acclaimed architecture firm behind the Apple Store’s flagship location in New York City, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson designed the center in association with St. Louis firm Hastings+Chivetta Architects. Through surveys and focus groups, the firms identified the top needs and interests of the WUSTL community. Architect James Kolker, assistant vice chancellor of campus planning and director of capital projects in Facilities Planning & Management said the building’s sustainable design both preserves and transforms Francis Gymnasium’s historic role on campus while creating spaces that are both functional and welcoming.

Some of the featured spaces of the Sumers Center will be:

  • a suspended jogging track
  • a three-court gymnasium
  • two multipurpose rooms
  • a spinning studio
  • state-of-the-art fitness equipment
  • team locker rooms
  • team meeting rooms
  • offices
  • a sports medicine suite

interior rendering of Sumers Recreation Center



Gary and Rachel Sumers

The expansion and new facilities are made possible in part by a generous commitment from WUSTL alumnus and trustee Gary Sumers and his wife, Rachel.

Rachel and Gary Sumers
Gary and Rachel Sumers

Gary M. Sumers is senior managing director and chief operating officer in the Real Estate Group of New York-based Blackstone Group. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 with a double major in history and political science, spending his junior year at the London School of Economics. He later earned a law degree at Northwestern University. He has been an active Washington University alumnus, serving on the Arts & Sciences National Council and the New York City Regional Cabinet, among other volunteer roles.

Rachel Sumers was raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and received her undergraduate degree Phi Beta Kappa from the University of New Mexico in 1993. She earned a master’s in nutrition from Florida State University in 1998 and her law degree from New York University in 2002, as well as an LLM in taxation in 2005.

She began her law career as a tax associate at Simpson Thacher and Bartlett in New York from 2002-2006 and worked as internal tax counsel at Goldman Sachs in New York from 2006-2009.

Gary and Rachel Sumers are sustaining charter members of the Danforth Circle Chancellor’s Level and life patrons of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society.

Read more about the Sumers and their thoughts on the Athletics Complex expansion on the Leading Together website.

Construction Details

Construction began May 19, 2014 and is scheduled for completion in August, 2016

Current spaces and exercise equipment will be accessible although some disruptions will impact visitors at some point during construction. The sidewalk on Big Bend Boulevard between Forsyth Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway will be closed throughout construction.

For more information about the project, please contact David Jolley at (314) 935-5051