Dorms to gain recreation center


Emily Williams

The week before spring break is one of the busiest times of the year at the Student Recreation Center, but next year, it might be a little bit easier to find an open treadmill. This fall, University Recreation will open a second recreation center on campus called the Student Center at Presidential Village.

The new rec center is under construction between the Presidential Village residence halls on the north side of campus. Kristen Durham, University Recreation’s associate director of memberships and fitness, said former University President Robert Witt chose the location because he wanted to embed a fitness facility into the growing residential communities.

(See also “Rec center manages increased visits“)

Andre Love, associate director of programs at University Recreation, said the new center will be approximately 133,000-square feet, almost 70,000-square feet smaller than the Rec Center.

Durham said the focal point of the new Student Center will be the rock-climbing wall, which will be 37 feet tall and extend to the second floor of the building. The wall will include areas for bouldering, belay and lead climbing options. The current rock-climbing wall at the main Rec Center is 20 feet tall.

The center will also include two wooden floor basketball courts, one multi-use course, two group exercise studios, one personal training studio, 70 pieces of cardio equipment and 70 pieces of strength equipment. In comparison, there are approximately 110 pieces of cardio equipment at the Rec Center.

The weight and cardio equipment will face the back wall of windows, which will overlook the Black Warrior River and Manderson Landing.

(See also “Trustees approve more construction projects“)

Unlike the main Rec Center, the new center will not have a track or a pool. It will include full locker rooms but no steam room or sauna. All students, faculty and staff will be able to use the new facility when it opens; however, no alumni or community members will qualify for memberships.

In addition to the fitness facilities, the new center will house Parent Programs, the Offices of Housing and Residential Communities and a dining facility. Cathy Andreen, director of media relations for the University, said the specific plans for food service at the Student Center have not yet been finalized.

Durham said the center is a much-needed addition to the fitness facilities on campus and will be a convenient option for many students.

“We are certainly undersized for our enrollment,” Durham said of the current recreation facilities. “I think the numbers tell that story really well. We’re seeing higher numbers than we’ve ever seen in this facility. Certainly more space and more equipment and more opportunities for people to be active is welcomed and needed on this campus.”

(See also “University needs to take students into account during construction decisions“)