Expanded facilities making workouts an easy fit
Story by Paul Coro
Photos by Travis Neely
GCU News Bureau
At a University that aims to expand the limits of students and staffers, Grand Canyon University did the same for its main campus recreation facility.
The two-story Lopes Performance Center underwent a transformation this academic year in order to be a bigger, brighter place for GCU students and staffers to strengthen their bodies in between strengthening their minds.
The LPC’s second-floor student fitness room was expanded by 29 percent to become a 7,000-square foot room. A north glass wall brightens the room’s open space, where 12 additional pieces of workout equipment joined the existing array of treadmills, elliptical machines, spin bikes, weightlifting racks, a CrossFit station, a StairMaster, rowing machines and more.
The LPC second-floor weight room, which is 4,000 square feet, is now a dedicated space for students and staff. And the 2017 opening of the GCU Basketball Practice Facility for the men’s and women’s basketball teams also expanded availability for the building’s three basketball/volleyball courts.
The LPC is like a classroom for junior Brittany Pearson, who is majoring in exercise science with an emphasis in sports performance. She now works out at the LPC four or five times per week after going to various gyms for workouts during the 2016-17 academic year.
“I love it,” Pearson said. “It’s just more open. There are areas to do lunges and more body-weight movements and workouts, so that’s really nice. I actually was just thinking about how nice it is that everything is in one place. I can get a total workout in an hour or an hour and a half.”
As students return to campus this month, the LPC and other student fitness centers at Chaparral, Juniper and Papago will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends.
Director of Recreation Matt Lamb said a more efficient check-in system, through a phone app, will be coming to the LPC. Even without updated data, it is clear that student use has increased beyond the estimate of 2,200 LPC visitors per week during the 2016-17 academic year.
“They are overall excited,” Lamb said of GCU student users. “The fitness room, with the new addition, was given a lot more natural light and just a better appearance. Everyone is impressed by that. Having more hours for general students on the second floor has definitely drawn a lot of positive feedback. It feels more spacious.”
The space has given more breathing room for the LPC’s boot camps, which are offered for free to students and staffers.
The increased court space and weight room availability has allowed Intramural Sports to increase participation and is just in time for the massive growth of Club Sports, which will be housed in a new campus building in the future.
“The court space will allow us to keep our basketball training on campus, and we can expand teams,” Director of Club Sports Dan Nichols said. “The extra weight room space gives additional training room for noncontact sports that want to get serious.”
Campus Recreation will research fitness trends to examine what additional classes or equipment it will offer in the future.
The LPC expansion already is keeping more students like sophomore Brandon Biggers on campus for workouts. Biggers, a business marketing major, trains six days a week and has returned to the LPC partly because of its increased space.
“I think it looks great,” Biggers said. “I like that they knocked down the wall and made it glass so you can have a view when you’re running or on an elliptical. They did a good job.
“When it hits 5 o’clock, that’s when all the students come and it gets pretty crazy in here.”
Contact Paul Coro at (602) 639-8641 or firstname.lastname@example.org.