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Campus Rec expands, opens for fall semester

With students and faculty returning to their fall routines, staff members at the Campus Recreation Center are hoping they will add a new workout routine to their schedules.

Aaron Craig, assistant director of fitness, said grand opening events for the newly renovated center will kick off with a “Wake Up with Campus Recreation” breakfast at 7:30 a.m. today and last until a midnight Zumba class.

Throughout today, events will range from theater-enhanced Induro Cycling, facility tours, free fitness orientations, equipment and vendor demonstrations and plenty of giveaways, she said.

“(We’ve) tripled our fitness space, going from 7,000 square feet to 21,000 square feet, and tripled in our equipment,” Craig said. “We used to have about 50 pieces of cardio equipment total. We will now have about 120 pieces of cardio equipment total, including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, etc.”

She said the layout of the Rec Center has also changed, with each level now featuring an area for stretching and flexibility, an area for cardiovascular endurance and an area for muscular strength and endurance.

“So you could come in and stay on the main level and get all those components of fitness and never have to go down to the lower level, which is where a lot of the Olympic benches are,” Craig said.

Craig described the renovations on the Rec Center as an “ongoing process” that’s lasted about two years, including not only construction on the building, but also training of staff and structuring of programs for students and staff to take part in.

One of those programs is a “Fit-4-You” incentive program, to “encourage folks who aren’t regular exercisers and to reward regular exercisers,” she said.

“For every hour of exercise, you earn six miles through the program, and each time you hit a certain ‘milestone’ in the program, you earn a reward through the program,” Craig said. “The staff keeps track of the miles you earn, and although we have had the program before, the goal this time is to reward those people who are active, and get the word out for folks to just move.”

Eric Hunter, director of Campus Recreation, said this “just move,” or “GO,” theme is something the Rec Center is carrying on throughout the semester to encourage students to remain active.

He said that through these renovations, which include not only more fitness space, but also two group fitness studios, a two-court basketball gym and a one-tenth-mile indoor running track, students will see enhanced services that will enable them to live a healthy lifestyle that will keep them “well.”

“The ultimate goal in wellness, of course, is being a well and healthy student,” Hunter said, “which will help (students) succeed in class, and that’s always been our ultimate goal, is that we want successful students.”

As the highest-used student service on campus, Hunter said he expects to see a facility that can accommodate a lot more people than what was previously possible.

“So students who maybe are returning won’t have that feeling of being overcrowded, and some students probably chose to go elsewhere because we were so crowded. Well, now we’re going to be able to accommodate twice as many people on our fitness floor,” Hunter said. “We used to average 2,000 people on our floor every day. We fully expect to have 3,000 to 4,000 coming through the turnstiles every day and be able to accommodate that.”

Craig said she expects students to gain an environment of socialization where they can come in and hang out. The equipment’s access to technology through the Internet, iPods and televisions will create an environment that will make students comfortable, she said.

“I think that through (all of these) features, students will be more likely and more willing … to come in, to be here at the Campus Recreation Center and enjoy it and then stay awhile,” she said.