Climbing up the walls: many facilities offer new climbing walls in the lobby for all to see

Do any of you know of indoor climbing walls that are located in the lobby of a facility (community center, YMCA, college, etc.)? That was a recent question posted from Nashville, Tenn., on NRPA’s listserv, NRPAnet. For information on how to join the discussion, select “NRPAnet” from the right-hand side of NRPA’s Web site ( Here are some of the responses about this trend-setting activity:

I have been to the new Community Center in Westerville, Ohio, and they have a climbing wall in their front entrance. It was a really interesting set-up and allowed for the front desk staff to keep an eye on things and make sure people were only on the wall when staff was present. Hope this helps–good luck on your new center.–Kirtland, Ohio

The Livonia Community Recreation Center has the wall in the atruim area. It was designed to go there with ample room for traffic to pass by. The floor color and material is different to show the different activity area. We also use tensa-barriers to keep the climb wall participants separated from the general traffic. We have a nicros wall. We love the location of it. It makes a wonderful center attraction with spectators lounging around.–Livonia, Mich.

You may want to contact Kevin Astill. He is the director for West Valley City. In their Family Fitness Center, they have a large climbing wan just inside their main entrance. Another new facility in Utah with a climbing wall is the South Summit Family Center in Kamas, Utah. Good luck!–Mesa, Ariz.

There is a fitness club in downtown Chicago … It is a high-end fitness club, but you can really see what it does for that facility It is called the Lake Shore Athletic Club at the Illinois Center. Here is a link to the Web site with a picture of how they did the wall.–Chicago, Ill.

The University of Central Florida and James Madison University both have good examples of what you are looking for. wall.shtml or–Gainesville, Fla.

Try the city of Gilbert. They have a new rec center and put a climbing wall not in the exact lobby area, however, [but] as part of the inner rotunda. Michelle Haney oversees the center and can be of some assistance to you. –Gilbert, Ariz.

We have one in the lobby of our natatorium. Feel free to contact the supervisor, Bruce McDonald at bmcdonald@ There is also a huge climbing structure in the lobby of the student center at Texas A&M University. You could get their contact information off of their Web site. Good luck.–Allen, Texas

The Paul Derda Recreation Center has a rock climbing wall close to its entrance, although it is not part of the welcoming area. You can go online at to get an idea of the center. I wish you the best.–Broomfield, Colo.

I serve on the New Jersey Recreation and Park Association’s annual awards committee and we did visit the Riverwinds Community Center in West Deptford, NJ. It has a climbing wall similar to what you are seeking. Go to and click on the ‘Riverwinds link.’ Joe DeSimine is the facility director.–West Deptford, NJ

We have a 32′ wall in our lobby! It’s quite the setting when you walk into [the] Center, I might add. Check out our Web site facility photos–I think there is a good picture of it. You are welcome to come up and see it also–we are just south of Indianapolis on I-65.–Franklin, Ind.

The University of Kansas in Lawrence just opened a brand new recreation center with a climbing wall and traverse wall that is viewable from the lobby. However, the access to it for climbing purposes in downstairs. It’s a nice way to increase visibility and effect, while monitoring climbing activity.–Lawrence, Kansas

Not sure this qualifies, but there’s a great climbing wall in the main entrance to the building that houses the Colorado Mountain Club, Outward Bound West (Formerly PCOBS & COBS, now combined), and (I think) the American Alpine Club, located in Golden, Colo. Though the building itself may not be visited as frequently by the general public as say a YM/WCA or local community center, I would imagine they’ve faced some access/liability/risk management issues due to the fact that the wall is located in the lobby and therefore is not gated of controlled. I believe they have both visual monitoring by closed-circuit TV, and that the floor is wired to trigger an alarm should anyone walk onto the belay surface when no one is officially supervising the wall. You can contact folks at OBWest for details.–Golden, Colo.

Our location in the lobby has been a great, though a controversial decision. Pluses: Prominent, behind a glass partition for control, in front of glass windows thus visible from the outside … an eye catcher. Minuses: took away room from multi-purpose space (occasional banquet, athletic hall of fame …). I didn’t want it in a racquetball court in the back of the building far away from my office–I wanted it where I can hear and see action within steps of my desk.–Oberlin, Ohio

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