A healthy extension


The entrance to the new recreation center located in Stephenson Down Under as seen on Wednesday, August 19.

A new recreation center on the south side of campus has been established after construction on the lower level of the Stephenson complex was completed last week.

University Recreation directors, University Housing, and Residence Life added the recreation center to what is known as Stephenson Down Under in an effort to make fitness available to all students on campus, regardless of their location.

The center will offer a variety of equipment and classes similar to those found at the Student Recreation Center (SRC). Hours of service will be based on peak usage times influenced by traffic pattern data accumulated from the SRC.

Previously, Stephenson Down Under was only a large, open space for students to do homework and be tutored. Joanne Greene, director of programming for University Recreation, said that the space was not being utilized for studying, and that athletic needs should be met.

Edwin Hamada, the director of Residence Life, said that Stephenson will still promote tutoring. However, tutoring will be hosted on the main floor instead.

“There was wasted space,” he said. “This way all the needs are met without dismissing exercise.”

Alongside space being wasted, students residing on the south side of campus were spending less time at the SRC on the north side of campus, according to a survey conducted by Hamada.

The survey, which asked SRC users where they resided on campus, concluded that a longer commute for south side residents was an issue and posed a problem that the university could fix.

“There are over 3000 residents in the immediate vicinity that will now be able to exercise indoors without having to walk or ride the bus to the SRC,” Bob Tattershall, the director of Housing and Conference Services, said.

The idea to build a recreation center in Stephenson surfaced about a year ago, and a design was settled in January 2015 right before construction began.

“There was an immediate need, so to be able to do it is great,” said Jeff Elbracht, the director of Facilities and Finance for University Recreation. “We tried to minimize it so it wasn’t a problem for students. There were lots done in a quick turn round.”

The quick turn around and services now made available have been well received by both students and their parents.

“Of the comments, we have heard ‘this is great’ and ‘this is amazing,’” Elbracht said. “Everything is positive.”

The new space includes a studio room, which will be used for fitness classes, as well as a weight room, cardio room with ellipticals and treadmills, and a multipurpose room for studying. Hours are posted online.