Smoke billowing out of the old Y Barn that was destroyed in a Feb. 1 fire at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center.

Smoke poured out of the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center last week when the old Y Barn caught on fire.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

When reports of a fire at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center surfaced early on the morning of Feb. 1, members of the local community took to social media to share thoughts and pay homage to the old barn as it was engulfed in flames.

The building — which for years was leased by the university to the local YMCA — naturally evoked a range of emotions from community members with vivid memories of summer camps, basketball leagues and childcare activities.

In recent years the barn — which saw the surrounding property off of Highway 93 undergo a significant transformation following a $2.4 million gift by the Snow Family in 2014 — morphed into a storage home for maintenance equipment and adventure equipment for the Clemson Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program.

A rendering of the Outdoor Education Center, located at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center.

A new Outdoor Education Center will serve as the home for the CORE program.
Image Credit: Cooper Carry

And while the fire destroyed the barn and all of the materials stored inside, the future of Clemson’s outdoor recreation program has never been brighter. To date, more than $4.6 million has been raised in support of programming and facilities on the Snow property.

The two best pieces of news stemming from Friday’s accident were that no one was injured during the accident and that the new championship turf field was unharmed. The field covers 140,000 square feet, with capacity for as many as three ongoing competitions for some sports at the same time. Lights were installed recently and intramural soccer is set to begin on Sunday, Feb. 10.

An overhead shot of construction at the new Outdoor Education Center.

The foundation was poured this week for the new Outdoor Education Center.
Image Credit: Sherman Construction

The burn site has been inspected by investigators from the State Law Enforcement Division and a fence was installed around the perimeter as a precautionary measure. The site is expected to be demolished within the next two weeks.

Professional and student staff have returned to their offices in the trailer adjacent to the site of the old barn, thanks in large part to the quick response from Clemson Fire/EMS and personnel from multiple area stations. Campus Recreation is preparing to order equipment to be able to function during the interim period, and trips are running as scheduled. Rental equipment will be limited until inventory can be purchased and received.

But it won’t be long before the CORE program has a new facility to call home. The foundation for a new 16,500 square foot Outdoor Education Center was poured this week at the lakefront edge of the championship field. The new facility will be home to not only CORE, but also academic classrooms, meeting space and equipment storage. Work is expected to be completed late in 2019.

During the interim period, CORE can be contacted by phone at 864-656-0892 or by email at outside@clemson.edu.