Rec Center, Not Even a Year Old, Still Growing
By Jennifer Willis
With all of the growth and expansion going on at GCU, it can be difficult to keep up.
For instance, it hasn’t even been a full year since the 55,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center opened. That hasn’t stopped Chuck Howard from working to create an in-demand space that already is looking to expand.
During the 2010-11 academic year, the Rec Center averaged about 2,500 visitors per week. And that’s only those coming to use the facility — it doesn’t include those who came in for tours or other reasons.
Part of the draw has been the 22 classes offered throughout the week, including options such as Holy Yoga, Turbo Kickboxing and the most popular, PAC Training, an intensive, boot-camp-style workout at midday.
“The idea is to try and build community between students, faculty, staff and athletes,” says Howard, the strength and conditioning coach for the Antelope sports teams.
“In the past, it’s always been felt that the athletes were the only ones to benefit from fitness and training activities. We wanted to build a place where everyone could come and get healthy together.”
The idea of community has been taken above and beyond simply providing a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility for all to enjoy. Activities such as GCU’s version of “The Amazing Race,” as well as a six-week New Year’s Fitness Challenge involving 200 participants from the main campus and Peoria and Tempe offices, were just the beginning of things to come.
Howard feels that the first year was a success.
“We were able to service our clientele at a high level,” he says. “And intramurals did excellent. It was a great place for students to be able to come.”
He also thinks there’s room for improvement. An expansion of the workout area at the east end of the upper level is in the works, to keep up with enrollment growth and to offer programs such as on-site massage and a Weight Watchers type of program for faculty and staff.
In the meantime, the staff is hard at work with summer training and classes, preparing for the fall semester and trying to spread the word about the facility.
Student workers have been a big help with that. When the new semester starts, there will be as many as 30 of them — more than three times the number for the shortened summer schedule.
The staff tries to help student workers gain experience in the areas in which they are majoring. Marketing majors get to work with the Marketing Department in the promotion of the center, while exercise science majors have the opportunity to work with the student-athletes.
“We want it to not just be a part-time job for them, but to help them with their career as well,” Howard says.
Summer hours are from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The hours and class schedule will return to normal for the fall semester.
For a complete list of classes and times, visit the Rec Center Fitness Class Schedule listed in the navigation pane at the top of news.gcu.edu.
Reach Jennifer Willis at 639.7383 or Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.