Population forces fitness center expansion

It is a Tuesday afternoon and you decide to lift weights. You put on your workout clothes, grab your towel and Rattler Card and make your way to the Fitness Center.

When you arrive, the scene makes you want to turn around and go home.

There are five people waiting on the only bench, six people are watching videos on College Television Network and everyone else is crowded around the free weights.

Unfortunately, this is often the case at the campus fitness center.

The university’s enrollment is more than 10,000 students, and the center is not big enough to accommodate the number of students who want to use it.

“The fitness center at my high school was bigger than the one here,” said Ursula Gray, 20, a junior from Panama City.

The lack of a quality fitness facility on campus led some students to get memberships at places like Gold’s Gym.

The days of being inconvenienced will end very soon.

According to Gei-Nam Lim, fitness director for the Campus Recreation Department, a new three-story 38,000 square foot fitness center will be built on the corner of Wahnish Way and Osceola Street.

The construction is scheduled to begin in late spring or early summer of 2003 and end in the spring of 2004.

The building will be climate controlled and the estimated cost, including equipment, is $6.3 million.

The bottom floor of the facility will have male and female locker rooms, a jacuzzi, steam room and a place for massage therapy.

The second floor will have a large weightlifting area, a juice bar and fitness and aerobic rooms.

The third floor will have all the cardiovascular equipment and will house the offices of the fitness center staff.

There will also be a rock-climbing structure in the fitness center that will span all three floors.

“The new fitness center will be a great recruiting and retention tool,” Lim said.

Students who know about the new center are excited.

“I think the new fitness center is good for the health and wellness of the students,” said Korey Gaddy, 20, a junior civil engineering student from Charlotte, N.C.