‘It’s great to return home’: Kinesiology Department settles into renovated Stephenson Hall

(From left to right): Professor Emeritus Margaret Hope, JSU President Don Killingsworth, Head of the Department of Kinesiology Gina Mabrey and Dean of the School of Health Professions and Wellness Tracey Matthews participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for newly-renovated Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)(From left to right): Professor Emeritus Margaret Hope, JSU President Don Killingsworth, Head of the Department of Kinesiology Gina Mabrey and Dean of the School of Health Professions and Wellness Tracey Matthews participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for newly-renovated Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)

Coley Birchfield, Correspondent

Faculty and staff of Jacksonville State University officially unveiled a newly-transformed wing of Stephenson Hall on Thursday which will house various aspects of the Department of Kinesiology.

A ribbon cutting ceremony outside of Stephenson Hall on Thursday celebrated the conversion of racquetball courts into fitness rooms and a Human Performance Lab. 

“It’s great to return home,” said Gina Mabrey, the head of the Department of Kinesiology.

The Department of Kinesiology, which was used for exercise science upon construction in 1939, had primarily been operating from Pete Mathews Coliseum, according to Mabrey.

Some new aspects of the facility include: lecture rooms, collaboration spaces for learning, two fitness rooms offering eleven fitness classes, and the Human Performance Lab.

  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)
  • JSU faculty cut the ribbon on new renovations in Stephenson Hall. (Coley Birchfield/The Chanticleer)

Students from the Department of Kinesiology were able to demonstrate the VO2 Max Test, which measures the maximum amount of oxygen a body can utilize during exercise. This, along with a Dexa Body Composition Scanner will assist athletes and Exercise Science students in maintaining healthy lifestyles, according to Mabrey. 

“I just walk around remembering what it used to be,” said JSU President Don Killingsworth, describing the pool tables, racquetball courts and couches that formerly filled the area. “Thank you to all the faculty and staff. This is a showpiece now and an addition to a popular major.”

The renovations to Stephenson Hall are among several that have been completed or are still in progress around campus, though some stem from an EF-3 tornado that caused major structural damage on campus in 2018.

JSU welcomed back music students and Southerners to a renovated Mason Hall this semester, after it sustained tornado damage in 2018, and features updated classes, offices, a new recital hall and new practice rooms. The university also finalized improvements to the Gamecock Athletic Sports Performance Center earlier this year and is remodeling parts of Houston Cole Library to house a Student Success Center.

The updates unveiled on Thursday were available after the University Recreation Department moved next door to the Recreation and Fitness Center.

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