By Adam Hoeg
Fitchburg State’s Recreation Center is getting a makeover. Plans are underway to update the center, with the hopes of adding more space to accommodate the large student body.
Renovations and expansions, which include new heating and cooling systems, as well as lighting, would not begin for a year and a half to two years. These improvements would fix the current problems with temperature regulation and lighting that have become a big issue over the years.
“The focus will be primarily on expansion of the Fitness Center and general student workout space,” said Director of Recreation Services Bradley Cohrs.
The Fitchburg State Recreation Center was completed in 2000 and soon after, officials found that the space would soon become inadequate. The University has been well aware for years now that the current Fitness Center is no longer adequate for the size of the student population.
“You find that even the newest of Recreation Centers quickly become outdated. This is due to student populations growing, as well as new and improved equipment and ideas coming into play on a regular basis,” said Cohrs. “We are thinking about the students here with the expansion plans, but there are a lot of budget concerns.”
Cohrs explained what improvements are planned to take place.
“At this point, we are looking strongly at converting the space that holds the pool into a two-story fitness center, adding an additional 11,000+ square feet to the current 3,000 sq. ft. center. “The problem with this is that the few students who use the pool for exercise will lose out,” he said.
Conversations have been held regarding the addition of a small Endless Pool to the new space.
“It all depends on the budget and how far it can be stretched,” he said.
Alongside the expansion of the fitness center, more stretching and studio space is on the list of additions to the facility. This would involve removal and relocation of the current classrooms located in the building, which can only comfortably hold 25-30 students.
“We just need more space; I feel like I can only come to work out during a certain time of the day or else I can’t get on a machine and have to leave because it’s so crowded,” said sophomore Ashley MacDonald, a frequent user of the Recreation Center, as well as an employee of the building. “ We only have five treadmills for an undergraduate body of 3,500 students, and one of them is usually broken. The room sometimes fills with 50 or more people, and its impossible to even move in there. It is so dangerous to have so many people in one room that only has one way in or out,” said MacDonald.
She also explained that it would make sense for the athletic teams to have their own workout space, as they are a large part of the overcrowding problem.
“One team can come in and take up the majority of the place for multiple unscheduled hours at a time. If they moved elsewhere, it wouldn’t be so bad,” she said.
“Students want to stay fit and active during such a stressful time in their lives, and they deserve to have a facility that can allow them to do that,” said Cohrs. “We are still in the exploratory phase, but major improvements are on their way.”