NEWS

Rec Center offers more than just a gym

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Alex McIntyre/Arizona Summer Wildcat


Garrett Smith, a UA alumnus, does lunges with a barbell while Jared Adkins, a UA alumnus, spots him in the Student Recreation Center on July 17. Entrance to the center is free to students enrolled in classes at the university.

Students continuously cycle in and out of the UA Student Recreation Center with the simple swipe of their CatCards or application of their fingerprint on a scanner.

It costs $3.94 for access to the Rec Center’s 108,000 square feet of fitness amenities including sand volleyball courts, rock climbing, a restaurant, gift shop, computer lab, basketball courts, a 30,000-square-foot weight room and 104 cardio machines with televisions installed.

This fee is known as the Campus Recreation Program Fee-: a refundable fee charged to all students to support recreation programs, student staff wages, sport clubs and facilities since being approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in 2002.

“We’d like people to know that this is more than just a gym,” said John Lloyd, the associate director of facilities and services for the Rec Center. The facility was expanded in 2010 with an additional 54,000 square feet. This includes an “upper courtyard with two sand volleyball courts, a bouldering area, the Mac Gym, as well as the Outdoor Adventure Center,” said Lloyd, who added that the additions cost a total of $27.5 million.

The modernized fitness center earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rating—a certification program to rate buildings with environmentally sustainable strategies.

As students pass the glass doors into the Rec Center, they pass Wildcat Threads, a shop for fitness gear and Wildcat merchandise; Fuel, a small “Modern Eatery” serving healthy options like protein smoothies, flatbreads and salads; and the THINK TANK, an enclosed computer lab for group studying and tutoring.

Once past the front desk, students have free reign of the facilities. Natalie O’Farrell, the associate director of programs, encourages freshmen to explore all of the activities the Rec Center has to offer.

Whether that may be swimming in the lap pool, playing pingpong or racquetball, badminton, boxing or running laps on the indoor track a variety of excercise is available for active students. Equipment for nearly all student’s sporting and fitness needs are available upon request and distributed by Rec Center employees—typically found wearing red polo shirts—with the swipe of a CatCard.

“Students from the university can seek employment at the Rec Center," O'Farrell noted, "from monitoring and providing the equipment to supervising the fitness center, and even instructing certain classes.”

Students can also participate in special activities and events featured throughout the week on the daily schedule. The schedule gives students an immediate glimpse at the daily activities that are offered for reduced charges to students, such as personal fitness training, rock climbing classes, Pilates or yoga instruction and dance classes.

O’Farrell also noted a popular activity is outdoor hiking. “It gives students the great opportunity to do something new, challenging and safe,” she said.

Another popular activity at the Rec Center is the intramural sports program, which includes competitive leagues and tournaments on campus for sports including volleyball, basketball and flag football.

“The program is open to everyone,” Lloyd said. “We have different tiers compete throughout the fall and spring semesters, available for those who are highly athletic and competitive as well as for students who aren’t that athletic or didn’t do any sports in high school.”

Overall, O’Farrell said the Rec Center is “a place where people can come to connect.”

Students may elect to request a fee waiver or refund for the Campus Recreation Program Fee if they choose not to use the facilities. Students must complete the request for the fall 2015 semester before Dec. 17.


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