After several years of development, MCLA’s Fitness Center is finally open.
The facility is located in the Amsler Campus Center and open to currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff. The decision to replace the pool with a fitness center was made in Sept. of 2016.
Although it was a longer wait than anticipated, the athletic department believes it was well worth it. Laura Mooney, director of athletics, said the new space is a game changer.
“We are finally open! Well worth the wait.” Deb Raber, the fitness center director, said. “Having a facility like we have now is a bonus for MCLA. We’ve been dreaming of this for years.”
The fitness center will be using Massachusetts Phase 3 Reopening guidelines to direct their operations. An email with information concerning COVID-19 guidelines and adjustments the facility will have to follow was sent out to the MCLA community on Thursday, Sept. 3rd.
The athletic department has made it a serious priority to maintain safety precautions in the facility. Equipment that someone is using, such as treadmills, has to be 14ft. apart. No spotters are allowed, and you are advised to stay at one station at a time before moving on to another.
“Anything you touch, we’d like you to wipe down,” Mooney said. There is a designated location called the ‘Dirty Zone’ where equipment goes after usage which facility staff members are required to wipe down. Staff fogs the space daily before opening at 7a.m., and mops the floor at close.
Students and faculty are advised to book workout appointments, located on MCLA Campus Portal. The new workout space has new branded equipment, double the amount of treadmills, ellipticals, and double the amount of racks and benches as the old fitness center. “We’re doing this once, we’re going to do it right,” Mooney said.
“It’s a huge upgrade for our entire campus. For the student- athletes it gives us a much bigger space and post COVID-19 we will be able to fit more students at a time as opposed to small groups we have had to rely on in the past. Our racks and benches have doubled, we added more dumbbells and kettlebells.” Raber said. Roughly $75k worth of new equipment, according to Mooney.
Mooney and Raber both agreed the new fitness center can be crucial for all students, and will help with recruitment too. “I think it has the potential to be a big selling point for our athletics department,” Raber said.
Traffic hasn’t been overwhelming yet at the fitness center. Roughly 40-45 people work out a day. Mooney stated that nice weather could be a factor as well as opening weekend being a holiday weekend. Mooney said she expects to see numbers go up as the semester moves on.
Along with the new fitness center, there are new coaching offices, a training room, and conference rooms. Mooney and Raber expanded on the importance of having almost all Athletic Department staff in one location.
The new fitness center officially opened Friday, Sept. 4th. In May of 2019 it was reported that the new fitness center would be a 4.2 million dollar project. MCLA successfully stayed within their budget.
“We used to be spread around campus in as many as five different areas. Days would pass and we wouldn’t see each other until department meetings. It’s hard to build comradery with folks spread all over the place,” Raber said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Catherine Holbrook stated that the location of the previous fitness is a ‘perfect space’ for student hangout space. Holbrook said there aren’t enough designated spots on campus for student hangout. Conversation on that decision will begin with the Student Government Association (SGA).