WRC implements new ‘active study equipment’

Kali-Ray/Panther Press

Kali-Ray Skinner/Staff Writer

Panthers at MMC looking for new ways to work out, stay healthy, and stay on top of their studies will find that the new expansion to the Wellness and Rec Center can cater to their needs.

The Wellness and Recreation Center’s expansion will offer plenty of new amenities. including an indoor track, active study equipment that will allow students to work out and study at the same time, gender neutral bathrooms and more are being added in the hopes of giving Panthers an expanded experience.

The center will also feature three new indoor basketball/volleyball courts, two racquetball/squash courts which can already be seen on the second floor, an expansion of the free weight and cardio rooms and possibly an informal recreation area with pool tables, foosball, or video games.

“I expect more people to come because of the added features, new amenities, and because we’ll actually have more space,” said Charles Judkins, the director of the center.

Two key elements to the construction project are the expansion of Tropical Smoothie and the new shared recreation and athletics field across from the Rec.

Construction officially started on March 22, and the expansion is going “roughly according to schedule,” said Judkins, as it had to be pushed back a couple of weeks due to weather-related issues.

The $25 million dollar project is set to open on Sept. 28 while the recreation field will open at the end of July, according to a story published by FIU News on Dec.11, 2015.

In the summer, the Recreation Center will be hiring both work study and non-work study students for the expansion.

Space has been one of the biggest complaints for patrons attending the gym in the WRC, which was built to accommodate 35,000 students.

“…[T]hat was the one thing that people were, from what I’ve heard … complaining about. That it’s almost like a sardine can on the first floor here,” said Judkins.

Some students have raised complaints about the construction project at the WRC.

Juan Alarcon, a senior majoring in chemistry, says the noise disturbance from the expansion has made it difficult for him to keep up with his yoga practice.

Alarcon notes that because of this expansion, “there is nowhere to go [in the Nature Preserve]. I used to go by the garden but now everything is closed off because there is a bunch of construction.”

FIU student employees are looking forward to the expansion, such as Francesca Puche, a building supervisor who is a senior majoring in advertising. She said that more space will make it easier for employees and patrons to re-rack weights.

The expansion will also feature permanent rooms for spinning classes in the WRC.

“That will be really helpful because it takes a significant portion of time to set up the class, and I think it will save more time in the long run and be less stressful in that aspect,” said Puche.

She also notes having new equipment will be nice because less machines will break down.

According to Judkins, there will be an opening ceremony, the date of which will be announced at a later time.

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