Pond cleared for new (fitness) center

Not only are FAMU sports moving up to NCAA Division I-A in 2004 but the recreation department is also moving up with a new state of the art fitness complex.

Campus Recreation Director Robert Carroll Jr. said the new fitness center expected to open in late 2004 will be one of the best in the state.

“It will be a new student campus recreation facility,” Carroll said. “The building process will occur in two phases… we will be breaking ground in November of this year.”

The 38,000 square foot center, which will be located where Lake FAMU now stands will have 3 floors. On the first floor will be the locker rooms, showers, massage therapy area and laundry rooms.

The 16,000 square foot weight lifting area – 10 times larger than the current area – will be on the second floor and will include both free weights and select rise weight machines.

There will also be a 3,400 square foot group exercise/aerobics room. This area will be three times larger than the one used by students now. Also on the second floor are equipment checkout, I.D. check in, first aid areas and a new smoothie bar.

Lauren Taylor, 19, a sophomore early childhood education student from Washington, D.C., is a frequent visitor of the current fitness center.

“I think the new fitness center will give people more choices in equipment and the fact that it’s new could even motivate FAMU students to workout more,” said Taylor.

This construction project is all about upgrading the current facilities and services to a greater level. Shayla Shell, a worker in the current fitness center is anxiously awaiting the new upgrades.

“It will be a wonderful facility that all students including myself will enjoy seeing as how we have outgrown the current facilities on campus,” said Shell, 18, a freshman public relations student from Tallahassee.

CPR certification, training for intramural referees and officials along with various fitness, health and nutrition seminars will take place in the new classrooms.

Memberships will be available to FAMU faculty and staff while students will still be able to use the facilities for free. Towel and locker rentals, one-on-one personal training sessions, nutritional consultations, fitness assessments and massage sessions are among the other amenities scheduled. The new center will also have one of only two rock-climbing walls in Tallahassee.

“America is experiencing an obesity epidemic,” Carroll said. “If FAMU can recruit the brightest and best young African Americans, have them leave with a degree and an increased level of fitness and health, our jobs will be complete.”

Lauren Armwood can be reached at l_arm15@hotmail.com