WCSU faculty and students alike gathered in Berkshire Hall to observe the Grand Opening of the newly revamped Colonial Fitness Zone on the Midtown Campus in full session on Tuesday February 24th. The start of the Spring 2015 semester marked a new beginning for Midtown Recreational facilities as well as the Recreation Department as they changed locations from the “black box room,” a room no larger than a millionaire’s private fitness room, to a room that was previously occupied by the Theater Department prior to the opening of the Visual and Performing Arts building on the Westside Campus.
“We’ve already seen an increase in attendance this week when we checked the card scanners for students to swipe in to use the fitness center,” said Amy Shanks, Assistant Director of The Center for Student Involvement. Shanks, along with Doctor Keith Betts (Vice President of Student Affairs), Luigi Marcone (Director, Facilities Operations and EHS Programs) and Peter Visentin (Director of Facilities, Planning, and Engineering) all had an integral part in overseeing the renovations of the new fitness zone and purchase of new equipment.
“Most of the equipment was from the old space. We just had to wait for squat racks and the stair machine to arrive. We had 350 students attending before we switched locations and it’s gone up to 500 and more this past week,” said Shanks. The Assistant Director also mentioned that her and her colleagues needed to wait for approval from the Connecticut State Legislature in Hartford in order to make renovations to the old theater space
Before the change in location, the WCSU Recreation Department already began making improvements to the old fitness room as early as Spring 2014 when they added new machines. The additions included a new Smith machine, cable machine, leg press, leg extension machine, preacher bench, and a Lat Pulldown machine that doubles as a seated cable row machine. After the move to the old Theater Department space, the fitness center received two squat racks and a stair climber machine as the latest installations of fitness equipment. In addition to new space and equipment, the fitness zone also encompasses other former theater rooms as space to hold fitness classes such as Zumba.
“I love the new space for Zumba. It’s perfect for other classes as well,” said Rec. Department member and Zumba instructor Ariana Mesaros. “It’s a convenient spot next to a fully equipped gym and I think this will help increase participation in fitness classes.”
“As increased fitness goes up we will offer more classes,” Shanks said. “If there’s enough demand from students who use the space we’ll consider getting more equipment.”