Crest Wellness Center on the upper campus features a student-run nightclub, lounge and eatery called Higherground. Located on the upper level, Higherground is managed by the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office of the University Centers, with programming support from the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate.
The building is also home to the Student Health Service; the offices of the University Police; and a fitness center and outdoor ropes course administered by University Recreation and Sport Facilities.
Designed by the Eau Claire architectural firm Larson, Playter and Smith, Crest Commons was constructed in 1965. It opened as a dining facility for students and academic support space for the allied health and nursing programs. Throughout the years, it changed from a highly utilized food service facility to a multipurpose facility. Major remodeling of Davies Center’s kitchen and dining facilities in 1991 significantly changed the emphasis of food preparation in the Crest Commons kitchen.
In 1994, the building’s name was changed to Crest Wellness Center to reflect its evolution as home to health services, the fitness center, an alcohol-free dance club named Sneakers (now Higherground) that opened in 1986, and a satellite office for Public Safety (now University Police).
A $1.4 million upgrade in 1999 remodeled the upper level of Crest Wellness Center for the fitness center, making it possible to relocate its weightlifting exercise equipment from the lower level. The update allowed Public Safety to move its offices entirely to the lower level of the building — placing law enforcement on upper campus, where most students live. The move brought public safety operations together in a common space for the first time, improving efficiency and effectiveness.
Smoking is prohibited on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus except in designated areas and on city-owned streets that run through campus. Crest Wellness Center is smoke-free.