East Gym scheduled to re-open in spring 2012Tweet
Just what activities does Campus Recreational Services oversee and what is going on behind those fences surrounding the East Gym? In a recent conversation with Inside, Janice Bennett, associate director of Campus Recreational Services, provided some answers.
What programs does Campus Recreational Services provide?
We provide a wide variety of opportunities that are designed to encourage positive lifestyle choices and promote lifelong learning. Our broad program of activities includes sports opportunities, personal and group fitness opportunities, as well as self-directed leisure pursuits. Our programs are geared to all ability levels. By participating in the programs we offer, we’re able to enhance students’ academic productivity, personal effectiveness, physical health and well being, and overall quality of life.
Specifically, we run five core programs: Club Sports, Intramurals, Outdoor Pursuits, Open Recreation, and a fitness/wellness program. Each program offers a slightly different experience for students and allows for very competitive as well as very unstructured activities.
There’s truly something for everyone and every lifestyle.
Can you explain what role these programs play in a student’s college experience?
About 70 percent of undergraduate students will take part in at least one of our programs each year—enriching their overall experience at the University. These programs help them gain self-confidence, build character, test their limits, experience achievement, learn teamwork and improve their leadership and communication skills. It’s also important to note that participation is voluntary. These are things they choose to do because they want to.
Some of your programs are operating in temporary locations right now because of the renovation project underway at the East Gym. Tell us about what’s happening right now – and what we can expect when the renovation project there is completed.
Right now we’re in the middle of a $14 million renovation to the East Gym − a critical maintenance-funded project allowing us to upgrade heating and ventilation systems and better meet the demand for recreational services. When the building reopens for spring 2012, it will be a center dedicated to recreational programming that offers students, faculty and staff a much better workout experience. What we’re really excited about is that all of the renovated spaces are being designed for their specific purpose/activity.
For example, one thing that will make the experience much better is that the entire facility will be air conditioned and we’ll have the ability to control the environment by say, adjusting the temp in the multipurpose room to be warmer for yoga and cooler for spinning. The temperature will be appropriate to the activity. In addition, the multipurpose rooms will be better suited to different activities, with adjustable lighting and suspended wood floors.
When we reopen in the East Gym, the fitness center will be more than twice the size it was before and it will also have a better layout, allowing for a variety of workout options. The court space will basically be gutted. The old floor, bleachers and dividing wall will be taken out. The new floor will be lined again for basketball, badminton and volleyball. Because the bleachers are being permanently removed, there is a larger buffer zone around each of the courts making play safer.
There will also be renovated locker rooms that offer more privacy with individual showers and semi-private locker bays.
What can we expect when we walk in the front door when the facility reopens?
Overall, the floor plan is more open and allows for better visibility into all of the spaces. It will be a lighter, brighter, more contemporary facility.
When you come in the front door, all the services will be easily accessible. There will be one central front counter to service everyone, whether they’re swiping in, checking out equipment, registering for class or purchasing a membership. From the front lobby you’ll be able to see much of what we have available- you’ll be able to see directly into the courts and the fitness center as well as into the pool area.
Will there be more court space when the renovation project is completed?
We’re very excited about this project and all of the updated and new spaces we’ll have to offer. It will greatly enhance our fitness and wellness program and all of our programs to some extent, but it doesn’t really address our increasing demand for court space. The courts are being renovated, and the entire space will be new, but not any bigger. So, when the renovation is completed, intramurals will still take place in the West Gym, and we’re hopeful that future master plans will include additional court space. We’re certainly advocating for it.
How will your fitness and wellness programs change?
This project will really enhance our fitness and wellness offerings. For instance, for the fitness center, which everyone knows as FitSpace, the proposed equipment plan includes 64 cardio machines, 32 selectorized circuit stations and a bigger free-weight area. Also, the fitness floor layout will allow space for stretching, functional training like use of medicine balls, and will also follow ADA guidelines and will allow better access for everyone to the machines.
In terms of fitness equipment, almost all of the equipment will be new and 100 percent of the equipment will be less than 5 years old, which is different than before the renovation when only one third of the equipment was less than 5 years old!
We will also have entertainment for all of the cardio equipment, with personal viewing screens or cardio theater. The renovation project also will give us three, true multipurpose rooms for group exercise so we will be able to offer more classes at peak times when people want to be working out.
We’ll also have a completely new wellness suite with three private consultation rooms and we’ll be offering a variety of services like massage, personal training appointments and other spa-like services.
In an upcoming survey to be put out by the University Center for Training and Development, we’ll be asking for input from faculty and staff on the types of wellness services they would like to see offered.
We understand that fees haven’t been finalized yet, but can you give us a sense of the timeline?
In our temporary locations this year we’ve waived all membership fees for FitSpace and group exercise classes. When we reopen the East Gym recreational center in spring 2012, we will be charging membership fees again. We’ve proposed a student fee structure, developed in consultation with students, which is currently going through the SUNY approval process and we hope to announce the fee schedule prior to orientation. We do plan to offer an early-bird discounted spring 2012 membership once the fee schedule is finalized.
What hours will the new facility be open?
Right now, we’re planning to be open roughly 5:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends during the academic year – an expansion of our current hours. We’re also making a commitment to summer and intercession hours.
Will you be bringing back any programs that aren’t currently available due to the renovation?
When we reopen, the spaces that we’ve been using in the Union will revert to other uses, but we’ll be able to bring back some of the programming that we’ve been unable to offer in our temporary locations, like children’s swim lessons and some of our other wellness classes. We’ll be able to offer better opportunities after the renovation, particularly for families. We’ll even have assisted changing rooms that will make it easier to participate in family activities.
Outdoor Pursuits will remain in the renovated facility on the lower level, offering better access to and storage of their equipment.
The East Gym building is the oldest building on campus, and this is the first major renovation it has undergone. Will the building look different from the outside?
The building isn’t changing much on the outside, partly because of its designation as a historic building, so it’s hard to see what’s happening. The most visible change to the exterior will be the shifting of the main entrance to the left. We’ve created a renovation news web page to keep students, faculty and staff abreast of the progress, and are providing regular updates, including construction photos, at http://www2.binghamton.edu/campus-recreation/renovation/.