FitRec: try us and see what state-of-the-art means
By Jessica Ullian
Mary Ann French signed up for a trial membership at the new Fitness and Recreation Center because she likes the idea of running on the new jogging track or working out on the aerobic machines that overlook the swimming pool and the basketball court before driving home in the evening. And the timing of the center’s opening, just prior to the start of bathing-suit season, is also enticing.
“April, May, and June — it’s prime time for getting in shape for the summer,” says French, director of student employment. “That was an incentive.”
More than 180 University employees have joined French in opting for the special three-month trial membership currently available for faculty and staff and their spouses. The cost — $99 for the period April 1 to June 30 — beats the prices at most other gyms in Boston, and Warin Dexter, the director of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, says the center will be among the finest in the country.
“We want to get as many faculty and staff involved in this facility as we possibly can,” says Dexter. “It’s a magnificent opportunity, and I think for what we’re charging, it’s a great rate.”
The new fitness center is part of the John Hancock Student Village, which also includes Agganis Arena, and is intended to establish a more centralized campus. It contributes to the effort by unifying fitness, competition, and performance spaces under one roof, offering more than four times the space currently available at the Case Center and the Sargent Gymnasium — 18,000 square feet as opposed to a combined 4,000 — for aerobic exercise and weight-lifting. The 270,000-square-foot building also includes a number of new amenities, such as a 35-foot rock-climbing wall, two squash and six racquetball courts, and even a recreational pool that can be used for water exercise classes or for relaxation.
The center has several features intended to enhance the postworkout experience as well — a juice bar, wireless Internet access, and a separate faculty and staff locker room with a sauna. “It’ll really become kind of a social hub of the campus,” says Dexter.
Other key attributes include a multipurpose classroom with a full kitchen for nutrition classes, a 230-seat dance theater, a special gymnasium that can accommodate in-line skating, and the Ryan Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.
More space also means more opportunities for classes and programming. The fitness and personal training programs, developed in association with Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will be expanded, as will the offerings for children and families, which include swimming, diving, and performing arts classes. In addition, fitness center members will be eligible for a significant discount — up to 40 percent — on most PERD classes.
The hope, Dexter says, is that members of the campus community will find “an incredible number of activities” for themselves and their families and take advantage of the center’s convenience to spend “some time out of their day to refresh their bodies and their spirits.” Interest in PERD programs is at an all-time high, and is expected only to grow when the new center opens.
“I think April 1, 2005, is going to be one of the greatest days for Boston University,” Dexter says. “This facility is that good.”