OGDEN, Utah – The public is invited to the grand opening of the Wildcat Center for Health Education and Wellness on Sept. 25 from 4 to 6 p.m. A short program is set for 4 p.m. in the lobby, followed by a ribbon cutting, reception and tours. Late Night at the Gym will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. in the center and the connecting Stromberg Complex.
The 20,000-square-foot expansion cost $8.5 million paid for by a bond from student fee revenue. It includes a three-lane suspended track for recreational runners, an elevated pedestrian walkway, two group exercise studios, strength training areas and day-use locker rooms. New classes offered in the group exercise areas include TRX Suspension, TRX Rip, Functional Fitness and Mobility, and Aqua Zumba. One of the studios now has a screen set up for virtual-ride cycling classes. Campus Recreation, Student Wellness and Employee Wellness also have new offices in the added space.
Before the expansion, many programs shared the Stromberg Complex and Swenson Gym: academic classes, the track and field team, the spirit squad, the softball team, intramural sports and more. Designed to address the overcrowding problem, the features of the Wildcat Center separate the athletes from drop-in students while providing more space that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
“The elevated track and pedestrian walkway are great additions because people used to have to walk across the track to get to the other side of the building, and that was a huge risk-management issue,” said Teri Bladen, director of Campus Recreation.
Brady Harris, executive vice president of the Weber State University Student Association, said the expansion allows students to have a consistent space in which to exercise.
“Students told us in senate that there were conflicts with athletic competitions and academic classes that shut down parts of the gym, so the addition will ensure that there will always be a place for students to exercise on campus,” Harris said. “The goal of this gym was to allow any student, regardless of where they are in fitness level, to exercise comfortably and improve their health while attending WSU.”
Students who exercise at the Wildcat Center not only can improve their health, but help the university recycle its resources.
“A lot of companies are moving away from drawing electricity to power the machines to you powering the machine while working out,” Bladen said. “We have a ‘green’ line of equipment that goes beyond that. The energy you generate while using a bike, for example, not only powers the bike but then goes back onto the grid to be reused.”
The project originated in the Weber State University student government three years ago and student leaders and administration have worked together tirelessly to make this dream a reality.
“This project shows the administration is responsive to the student voice when it’s given through the officially established channel of student representation via the governing bodies of the WSU Student Association,” Harris said. “The responsive and student-focused attitude is something that truly sets WSU apart from many other institutions, and the Wildcat Center is a great example of that.”
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