Recreation and Convocation Center gets a facelift

Hilltoppers were welcomed back to campus with signs of change, including construction on the new science building and library renovations. Though these projects are incomplete, there is one operative change: the newly renovated fitness center at the RCC.

“If we cannot go bigger, we need to go better and more effective,” said Director of Campus Recreation Andy Lemons.

The fitness center has been repainted, has new rubber flooring and has undergone a deep cleaning. There are also new signs and posters to make the center look more welcoming and clean, Lemons said.

“The old, worn down wood floor was aesthetically unpleasing,” Lemons said.

In addition to structural updates, the center has all new strength and circuit training equipment and free weights. New dumbbells with the Hilltopper goat logo will arrive within four weeks, and there are plans to bring in new cardio machines during the year.

“All pieces are designed to be user-friendly and intuitive in nature—anyone can come in and feel comfortable,” said Lemons. “[The center] did not feel like a welcoming or encouraging space.”

According to Lemons, only students who lifted in high school or current athletes typically used the weights. Now, he said, there is an increase in general student usage.

The renovation took about a year’s worth of planning, and the final approval came in April. The renovations occurred over summer break.

“We did what made most financial sense and best sense for the hours and space available, and we had a quick turnaround,” said Lemons.

When Lemons first came to St. Edward’s in 2009, he assessed areas of need by surveying students in what they wanted from Campus Recreation. He said group fitness and concern about the amount of facility space for fitness and wellness were among the top concerns.

Lemons said the hardest part has been getting the word out.

“Facebook and other university office pages have been effective, but the best thing is word of mouth,” said Lemons, who is trying to make sure freshmen are aware of the renovation and Campus Recreation’s services.

There is a before-and-after photo album of the new center on Campus Recreation’s Facebook page. Lemons says they have emailed past participants of GroupX and other Campus Recreation participants, but lack not a comprehensive list.

The RCC’s hours are posted on the Campus Recreation page on the Think St. Edward’s website.