The University at Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) Campus Rec is improving health and wellness for students after recently leading a full-scale renovation of the Rec Center’s first-floor weight room area.
The space was initially constructed in 2007. The overhaul added approximately 18,000 square feet of new rubber and turf flooring as well as fitness equipment. UTSA began planning for the project in 2019. All additions were open to the public in early September.
With the total cost of renovations estimated at over $500,000, Rick Jenkins, the program coordinator for Strength and Conditioning, said they accomplished their goal of having more bars and cables accessible.
“This allows us to serve more students at a time, because there is less waiting for equipment to become available,” said Jenkins. “The weight room’s flow is much better now and is more instinctual for everyone from the novice to the highly experienced lifter.”
The majority of “single-use” equipment, such as bench or shoulder press, were removed and replaced with 24 racks — 18 of which are full racks — that include school colors and logos. They were sourced through Sorinex at approximately $185,000.
Madison Cowles, the assistant director of Marketing and Communication for Campus Rec, said the new racks enable most of a workout to be completed in one area, from Olympic lifting to shoulder presses or pull-ups. She said students are adjusting well to the renovations along with the multi-use functionality and new layout of the equipment.
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The new floor from Sports Pro Surfacing is a 10 millimeter underlayment with a 3.5 millimeter top surface in the rubber areas. The turf sections measures 15 feet by 70 feet. Cowles said the cost of the new flooring was $215,000.
“We had turf in our previous space. However, it was a retrofit to the area, rendering it less than ideal,” said Steve Kudika, the assistant director of Fitness and Wellness. “The new design is more useful due to its overall length and width. It allows for sled use and any walking exercise with weights like kettlebells, dumbbells and sandbags. Turf has been trending up for some time now as it can be an excellent surface for functional use. As the field trends to functional workouts, so will the equipment and flooring.”
Cowles said the rest of the new equipment was purchased through Marathon Fitness at $170,000. Apparatus included plate-loaded Precor, plate-loaded and pin-loaded Powerlift pieces, Eleiko plates, and an Escape Rig.
Inclusive Practices and Advice
Three all-gender bathrooms have also been added to the main hallway of the Rec Center as part of the renovations. Laura Munroe, the executive director of UTSA Campus Rec, said the project eliminated 200 square feet of locker room space.
“The facility has large locker rooms with multiple showers, restrooms, half and full lockers, and plenty of counter space,” said Munroe. “The new spaces increase our inclusivity by providing a private space for anyone who may not feel comfortable showering and dressing in the large locker rooms.”
When beginning a major renovation, Munroe said it was important to have a different point person to lead each project. This allows staff to gain valuable management experience.
“It helps to ensure responses to questions are answered in a timely fashion,” said Munroe. “Also, have patience and hold the project manager accountable for the timeline. Communicate with your constituents. Post the design in the facility and on social channels so students can get excited about the changes.”
She also stressed the benefits of keeping a “big picture” mindset. Her department also completed two smaller renovation projects over the last six years enabling the major renovation.
“Consider how the renovation will affect other spaces within the facility,” added Munroe. “Let your fitness staff steer the direction of the renovation, and get out of their way.”