Alumni gym opens after renovations

Tuesday, Sept. 2 marked the unofficial grand opening of the new University Federal Credit Union Alumni Gym. The gym’s target opening was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 30, but instead opened four days later.

Director of Campus Recreation Andy Lemons recounts how timing got in the way of public promotion for the newly finished gym.

“Unfortunately, because we were delayed, we did not get to do our Campus Recreation Open House during the welcome days, which would have served as kind of a grand opening,” Lemons said. “We’ll probably do some different stuff throughout the semester with the resources that we had allocated for that event to try and drive interest.”

The delay was caused in part to account for a new learning curve.

“Anytime you do a construction project, there’s always going to be some level of, ‘Oh I wasn’t expecting that.” Lemons said. “There were a couple things that we had to do to meet city code that were delayed a little bit, so it was disappointing, but the reality is that it was pretty close to being on time, so we’re really happy with how it has turned out.”

The roughly $3 million project was approved almost two years ago, and construction started last fall. From start to finish, the renovations took about 10-12 months. UFCU donated $1.7 million, and a private, formal ceremony for UFCU and some of the student leaders and alumni that were a part of making the space possible was held on Friday, Sept. 5.

The finished gym is air-conditioned and has two integrated sound systems, a fitness studio, new restrooms with one shower and six lockers, as well as a gender neutral bathroom. The Campus Recreation offices will also be moving over there. Along with that, the gym with be home to academic classes, club practices, intramurals, and Group X classes.

The gym’s fitness studio, which has 15 spin bikes, has allowed for the expansion of returning Group X classes as well as the creation of several new ones.

“There’s a couple of new formatted classes that we can do now–spinning being one–early morning strength class, and a barre class,” Lemons said. “We bought quite a bit of fitness equipment: ball racks, yoga blocks, plyo boxes, and stuff for more of this functional training that seems to be popular. It’s little things that really will enhance the classes themselves.”

The fitness studio has also helped clear up scheduling conflicts for some students.

Junior Megan McNinch, who started teaching Zumba for Group X last fall, is one of them.

“We were able more thoroughly to decide how we wanted our classes and when our instructors are available,” McNinch said. “And it’s just nice because now we have our own space for informal recreation and Group X classes. Before, we would go outside because it was cooler outside than in the gym, so now it’s really nice to have our own space where there’s air conditioning and an awesome sound system.”

Lemons wants the focus of the new Alumni gym to remain on the physical wellness aspect of Campus Recreation.

“We made it a space that’s dedicated to campus recreation first and foremost,” Lemons said. “There’s a fitness assessment room over there that we can use for private assessments–measurements, body fat percentage, body mass index, flexibility, and weight.”

But that’s not all the new gym has to offer.

“Small group training is new this year,” Lemons said. “Personal training was available before, but the fitness studio will allow us to do more of it. A group instructor or a personal trainer will be able to get three or four students and go in there and use that equipment that we bought and tailor the program to them.”

Lemons encourages all students and faculty to visit the gym and see for themselves all the changes that have been made.

“It’s their space, and they need to come take advantage of it. We’ve got the staff; we’ve got everything they need to come over and enjoy it,” Lemons said. “College is stressful, and this gym is supposed to be a thing that helps relieve that. It’s an awesome space.”

All Group X classes are free until the end of the week, thanks to the annual two week preview offered by Campus Recreation.

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