Over the past few years, the University of Nebraska Lincoln has undergone several campus recreation renovation and expansion projects. A few of those projects included enhancements to the Campus Recreation Center, all with the goal of providing students more space for cardio and strength training.
The first task involved transforming a racquetball court into a cardio zone with 16 pieces of cardio equipment. The second project was the construction of the brand-new Outdoor Adventures Center, which opened in May of 2014. “We moved all of our outdoor adventure programming staff, bike shop and gear rental out of the Campus Recreation Center, so that we could have more square footage to expand our strength training and conditioning room,” said Amy Lanham, the associate director of campus recreation at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
After conducting numerous student surveys, it became clear that certain improvements needed to be made to the Campus Recreation Center. “Over and over again we were hearing from our students that we really lacked cardio and strength areas,” explained Lanham. “So in the Campus Recreation Center we expanded the strength training and conditioning room. We added 2,000 square feet of space for cardio, and then the 8,000 square feet that was existing has become strength space.”
With all the additional space, students now have access to a wider selection of equipment that can cater to any fitness level. “This has allowed us to have some racks and platforms that we didn’t have previously, and then we also created some neighborhoods within the facility,” she explained. “We have the light lifting area, where there aren’t any dumbbells over 35 pounds, and then you move through to the selectorized equipment, and then you get to the plate-loaded area with free weights and racks.”
Throughout the expansion process they didn’t want to go without a strength room, so they moved everything up to a basketball court for the six months it took to complete the project. In order to make the process as seamless as possible, Lanham suggested trying to remain flexible.
“Realize that each day is going to have a different challenge, so really become close with your design team, your contractor and your site superintendant so you are able to have those conversations and keep the lines of communication open,” added Lanham. “When challenges present themselves, which they will on a daily basis, you just know who your go-to people are and how you are going to work through those issues.”