A 75 percent majority of students voted for the expansion and remodel of the Recreation Center in Feb. of 2008.
Those students still remaining at Cal Poly are now seeing their votes in action through major changes at the gym. The exercise room that was once upstairs has been moved the main gym area on the first floor. The ASI service desk and entrance to the gym are now located across from the Health Center. The racquetball courts are closed and the movement of the exercise room has resulted in the loss of two full basketball courts.
Despite the changes, ASI has worked hard to streamline the process so as not to disturb gym users’ workout patterns or exercise classes, according to Greg Avakian, ASI assistant director of recreational sports, who manages the facility.
The top priority is keeping general gym usage open because every Cal Poly student pays fees towards this, Avakian said. ASI then accommodates kinesiology classes and Cal Poly athletic programs. From there the activities that students have to pay for, such as popular exercise classes and intramurals, are considered. These displaced activities will be distributed around campus at other fields, courts and venues.
“The challenge is we’re still a shared facility with athletics and kinesiology,” Avakian said. “We have a commitment for the academic side. We support that.”
This results in what Avakian called an “ebb and flow” of exercise classes. The more popular classes like yoga and spinning, receive more room time, while less popular classes receive a more restricted schedule.
Some people have seen the benefit of this. “It’s good because we have our own room now,” Lauren Meers, a part-time spin instructor said. “The class is more accessible to people, especially new students.”
Meers said she has seen many of her regulars at her classes as well as many fresh faces. One class was completely full of new students, she said.
Although the displacement of the main exercise room was only to the downstairs basketball courts, a lot of thought went into the setup of the new exercise room, Avakian said.
The old exercise room held a maximum of 140 people, while the temporary area can hold an estimated 180 people, Avakian said. He also said that before the move, students often complained about overcrowding.
“We think the room configuration hopefully will allow people to have a better workout, to do more circuit training,” he said. “The ambiance and feel is hopefully like an actual gym.”
Some students agreed.
“It’s a lot more spread out so it’s easier to move around,” Cory Caffarella, a senior business student said. “It’s a big change from what I’ve been used to the last three years.”
Even new students have been impressed by the facility and its new additions, like flat screen TVs and the six new cardiovascular machines.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be so advanced for a temporary facility,” Katie Beglin, a freshman English major said.
The Recreation Center is maintaining its normal hours during the Fall quarter’s renovations.