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More students using Rec Center

CLAIRE C. LAURANCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Students stand in line at the Rec Center last week. Students have noticed longer wait times as Rec Center activity has increased with the growing student population.
By Julie Wetmore
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Record numbers of students are arriving at the UA every year, and many of them are finding their way to the rec.

Because there are more students on campus, the Student Recreation Center is filling up faster once students get out of class, said Mark Zakrzewski, assistant director of campus recreation and fitness.

This year the UA had its highest level of enrollment with over 37,000 students.

"With the population increasing, it's become more popular," said Brian Carswell, associate director of campus recreation.

Students said they are noticing how full the rec has become, especially right around the time everyone is out of class.

"Around 5 p.m. the crowds start piling in. I have to wait for half an hour and a one-hour body workout turns into two and a half hours," said Aaryn Jackson, a psychology junior.

In order to meet student demand, officials at the rec are now taking action to reduce the lines and offer more ways for students to work out.

Several bikes and other machines have been moved out of the weight room to give those who want to use the machines more room, and to help them avoid the lines, which are mostly caused by people who want to use weight lifting equipment.

The weight room has a limit of 130 people, a limit set by the fire marshall.

About eight years ago the weight room was expanded from 3,500 to 11,500 square feet, Carswell said this helped shorten the lines.

A $3 program fee passed last August contributes to the Rec Center's ability to provide better equipment and more tailored services to the students.

So far that $3 fee has been spent on new dumbbells, cardiovascular equipment, and pool furniture.

The rec also has eight new bikes with four more on the way, two treadmills, and six electrical cross trainers.

"You wouldn't think that chunks of lead get old-but they do," said Carswell about the need for new dumbbells.

Zakrzewski said he has begun a phasing program where he replaces a percentage of the equipment each year.

Plans for expansion are also in the works, said Juliette Moore, director of campus recreation.

These plans are partly generated by a committee with 10 student representatives giving feed back.

Moore said she wants students to let the staff know what they want.

"The more we get, the more it gets used," Moore said.

Expansion will continue as the Rec Center retains students' interest in a healthier lifestyle.

Andi Wardinsky, the new fitness coordinator, said that demand for activities from pilates to yoga have increased.

Wardinsky said that the Rec Center offers "everything from classic step to core classes, hip-hop, and kick boxing."

"Yoga is skyrocketing," she added.

The latest trend, pilates, has also become popular. Pilates is a mind and body discipline similar to yoga.

Because student demand is so high for group fitness classes, some raquetball courts are going to be eliminated in order to

accommodate more multi-purpose rooms.

The Rec Center has decided to leave only eight courts intact while remodeling the others into multi-purpose rooms.

Over the years, there has been evidence of a decrease in racquetball participation, Zakrzewski said.

The multi-purpose rooms will be put to better use and will be able to accommodate more students, he said.

The initial planning for the Rec Center began in 1986 when a measure was passed to charge the $25 fee now appearing on every student's Bursar account.

This fee pays for the bonds that were purchased to build the facility.

Opened in August 1990, the Rec Center replaced the intercollegiate athletics program and became a department of its own, combining general student fitness needs, sports, and clubs.

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