By Raya Tahan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Crowded conditions and a 30-minute wait are regular experiences at the Student Recreation Center.
As a result, the center's weight room will soon be expanded with 4,000 square feet added to the building's north side which faces Sixth Street in an area now covered with sidewalks, grass and palm trees.
"The Rec" has been crowded since the day it opened in 1990, said Grant Smith, the center's director. Lines begin to accumulate outside the weight room at 3 p.m. daily and do not recede until 8 p.m.
"At this point," Smith said, "weight training and cardiovascular are the most popular activities in the Rec center."
Smith said he hopes construction will start this summer, although the administration has scheduled it for next fall.
The total cost for expansion is estimated at $500,000 including equipment, but will not cause an increase of any current membership fees, fitness coordinator Britt Benson said. The construction is being funded by the center's budget for long-term maintenance and projects, Smith said, and two to three additional offices and conference rooms will also be added.
"I think expanding is a good idea," said Jennifer Lugash, business and public administration sophomore. "There are too many lines for the recumbent bikes, and, at certain times, you can't even go in the gym because it's so packed."
Paul Ballesteros, a pre-med senior who lifts weights at the center three times per week, said, "the amount of equipment, in proportion to how many students want to use it, is insufficient. It seems like there is always a 10-minute wait for the particular piece of equipment I want to use."
Smith said, "With this expansion, we'll be up to 15,000 square feet of weight room space, which is far more than ASU or NAU."
Four thousand of those square feet are located at Bear Down Gym, where the heaviest weight equipment is kept and will remain following the expansion.
The center's main weight room is 7,000 square feet.
Park Fitness Center on Fifth Street and Park Avenue has another 1,000 square feet of weight room space. This space, however, will be used by the ASUA Bookstore next year and will no longer be a part of the Student Recreation Center.
The center is looking for student input on which pieces of equipment are needed in the expanded weight room, Benson said. Students can drops suggestions off at the front desk or by talking to the weight room staff, she said.
Benson said some variety of cardiovascular machines, such as a step machine, will probably be among the additions.
"We will first see which pieces are in great demand," she said. "We're going to make it as compatible to student needs as possible."
Ballesteros said, "It seems like there is always a line for the incline benches. When I have to wait for equipment in the middle of my workout, my muscles cool down, the results of my workout are minimized and the chance for injuries increases."
Smith said construction should take about three months with little disruption to students working out.
In the future, another all-purpose room for aerobics and other activities may be built on the second floor above the expansion, Benson said.
The center also houses racquetball courts, a track and a pool.
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