Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL
The Health, Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec) at Moraine Valley Community College is a 113,000-square-foot facility that’s out to show what community colleges have to offer in the realm of recreation.
Built in 2014, the facility allows Academics, Athletics and Campus Recreation to all work together under one roof and provide a variety of opportunities for not only students, but the community as well. Mike Schneider, the director of Campus Recreation for CENTERS, LLC at Moraine, explained they don’t see the typical usage of a four-year institution rec center, but they do see the same correlation data related to retention.
“In many of our surveys, we’ve learned students feel the facility is an excellent benefit and it does contribute to their decision to continuing to attend Moraine Valley,” said Schneider. “Additionally, about 50% of our members indicate they learned about other offerings at the college just by using the facility. This means we are able to market the college to the community, and with an open enrollment, it’s a nice way to inform the local community of various programs and offerings outside of what we offer.”
Schneider emphasized the benefits of being a community college many might not realize, including being able to subsidize much of the building’s operating costs by having over 4,000 community members.
“There aren’t typically the resources needed at a community college to build and operate something so substantial,” he said. “By opening up to the community we are able to generate north of $2 million a year to offset our operating costs. This keeps fees low for students but still allows them to access a full and robust fitness and recreation facility. It’s truly a win-win as we can serve our community and our students together.”
Some of the features within the facility include 46 cardio machines from Life Fitness, Matrix, Precor and Woodway; 52 Life Fitness and Matrix selectorized and plate-loaded pieces; 22 Life Fitness, Matrix and Woodway treadmills featuring personal viewing screens; four fitness studios; a four-lane pool with a deep end; a three-court basketball gym; a one-tenth mile indoor jogging track; private consultation, assessment and personal training rooms; digital locker rentals and modern locker rooms with steam rooms; and private shower stalls and towel service.
Additionally, the FitRec partners with Tropical Smoothie and NovaCare Rehabilitation to provide extra amenities to patrons, as well as a 9,000-square-foot space called KidRec, dedicated to youth and family programming. This space provides childcare for patrons, including a small climbing feature to keep kids active, and an area referred to as X-rooms with exergame equipment including Xbox stations that only work when peddling a bike.
“I think our KidRec space is incredibly unique for a campus recreation facility,” said Schneider. “Since we serve such a large community, we saw a need and niche for us to serve youth.”