Increasing demand for both educational and recreational sports facilities spurred the decision in the late 1990s to build a new student center. The $17-million facility south of Watkins Memorial Health Center, funded by student fees, was dedicated Sept. 25, 2003.
In December 2007, it was named in honor of David A. Ambler, the longtime vice chancellor for student affairs who was a strong advocate for a new recreation fitness center.
The 98,000-square-foot center, conceived by Ken Ebert Design Group of Manhattan, has a suspended track, a rock-climbing wall, cardiovascular and resistance training equipment, weight rooms, aerobic and martial-arts studios and basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts; and Recreation Services offices.
A $6.3-million addition of approximately 45,000 square feet to the north side of the center includes four gym courts, racquetball courts, a martial-arts studio; and an extended track elevated over all eight courts. It was opened Oct. 24, 2008, when the building was dedicated to Ambler.
The 5,200-square-foot Student Rain Garden north of the center has 2,500 native plants from 20 species.