Fitness center staff member and Wilson student Aly Rice ’14, who has worked in the Wilson fitness center since she began her freshman year in 2009, mentioned the new fitness center has brought many new students into the campus gym.
“I started working here in 2009. The new space is much bigger. People are pumped to work out in this big space. The old space was tiny. I think it’s worked out great,” said Rice.
In years past, a small area in Lower Lenfest housed the campus fitness equipment. Over the summer, faculty, staff and some student-athletes helped move all fitness equipment into the new Wilson College fitness center, after they made cosmetic improvements to the inside of the building.
The fitness center boasts new yellow paint, burgundy steps and accents, lockers for student use and new black-speckled multipurpose flooring. Rice mentioned that the cosmetic improvements make the space more inviting and aesthetically-pleasing for student and faculty gym-users.
“They did awesome. The improvements are good. The floor, the paint, the shelves; they did good,” said Rice.
Of course, the renovations to the building-and the relocation of all fitness equipment to the space- could only occur after the space was cleared of its gymnastics equipment and the gymnastics program officially ended after ECAC Championships in spring of 2013.
The relocation of the fitness center has upset some students and former Wilson College gymnasts- including former gymnast Jenny Miller ’15.
“Being a gymnast and seeing the place you called home and were in to practice 3 to 4 hours a day is of course upsetting. The new fitness center is nice but personally I don’t like to go in there,” said Miller.
Miller mentioned she felt the new fitness center should at least honor the gymnastics team it used to house.
“I’d also add it’s disappointing to see that the canoeing team or whatever is honored in the fitness center but the gymnasts aren’t and that was our gym,” said Miller.
But Rice, who also participated on the Wilson College gymnastics team, noted the change benefits the entire college community.
“I used to be a gymnast here. My sweat, blood and tears are all in here. But I am glad they made it useful.”
Frey also conveyed the necessity of a new fitness center for students, student- athletes and new recruits.
“Today’s students (and student-athletes) regard fitness and wellness as an important personal component. The new fitness center is important in the recruitment process,” said Frey.
Many students do value fitness and wellness and make use of the new fitness center, including international student Miyoung Kwon ’15.
Kwon noted that she and her friends like to use the fitness center after classes, between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
She mentioned, however, that she wishes the fitness center would stay open slightly later in the evening to accommodate her and other nighttime exercisers.
Rice mentioned that students, faculty members, and others in the Wilson community can contact Lori Frey, the Athletic Director, or any fitness center staff members, with requests or suggestions.
“I don’t think students know they can come to us. But I would tell them that this is their fitness center too, said Rice.
Kwon also suggested other changes including a work-study program that would allow exercise-science students to work as personal trainers in the college fitness center.
She noted that a similar program existed at her school in Korea and that she took advantage of and enjoyed such services.
“It makes me work more effectively in shorter time. Yes, it would be more effective,” she said.
Otherwise, Kwon, along with many other students and staff, enjoy the new spacious fitness center.
Frey said she was pleased to open the new fitness center and give the Wilson community a more modern and spacious place to exercise.
Frey also mentioned further changes to the new facility in the near future.
“This space will see additional equipment upgrades during the next year to accommodate new male students,” said Frey.