UofM opens $31 million R. Brad Martin Student Wellness Center and Plaza

June 30, 2021 — The University of Memphis held a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning for its $31 million R. Brad Martin Student Wellness Center and Plaza.

The two-story facility is located at 3735 Southern Avenue, adjacent to the $18 million Hunter Harrison pedestrian cable bridge and $18.5 million, five-story, 1,140-space parking garage. It features expanded cardio and weight training areas, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, four fitness studios, a teaching kitchen, an indoor track, three tennis courts, an outdoor pool, classroom space and more.

The new building will operate in addition to the UofM's existing Student Recreation and Sports Complex, which will continue to provide basketball, volleyball, badminton, racquetball, and indoor swimming, in addition to outdoor playing fields. Members have access to free group fitness classes and reduced rates for services, such as personal training and massage therapy. 

"Wellness is at the core of what a great school is supposed to be all about," said R. Brad Martin. "There's not an element of this community that's wellness is not impacted by the work of this great University. This is a physical demonstration of the incredible progress this University has made the past eight years under the transformative leadership of President (M. David) Rudd, one of the greatest educators of my lifetime and in this nation."

Martin is a UofM graduate, chairman of RBM Ventures and retired chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated. He was previously student body president at the University and interim UofM president in 2013-14, and has served on the UofM Board of Trustees since its inception in 2017. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters following his time as interim president.

"I can't imagine a more fitting building to carry the name of Brad Martin," said Rudd. "He has been dedicated to student wellness since his days as a student at the UofM. Much of his work has been done outside the public view, but has been essential to the progress of this University and our community. It has been the single greatest joy of my eight years at the University of Memphis to be able to call Brad a friend."

In May, the UofM held a ground breaking for the $12 million Mike Rose Aquatics Center in partnership with Memphis Tiger Swimming, Splash Mid-South, the YMCA and the Rose Foundation. The project is a renovation of the existing pool in the Student Recreation and Sports Complex and will serve as a complement to the new wellness center with a deeper and longer pool more conducive to lap swimming. Additionally, spectator seating in the pool area will be expanded and the roof for the entire facility will be replaced with other key mechanical systems revamped and upgraded. 

To donate to the Mike Rose Natatorium to ensure that everyone in the Mid-South has access to affordable swimming instruction, please contact Joanna Curtis in the UofM development office at 901.671.5274 or jecurtis@memphis.edu.