When Campus Housing approached Campus Recreation with spaces that were no longer being utilized in two of their housing complexes, the process of creating fitness rooms in residence halls at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) began.
“Housing had been collecting satisfaction surveys from residents regarding their interest in various amenities,” said Amy Lanham, the senior associate director of Campus Recreation at UNL. “Housing had also been working with residence hall association leaders to determine what types of things could influence students to continue to live in the residence halls after the first year on-campus living requirement. One item that surfaced to the top was having workout spaces in directly in the halls that would be similar to the apartments in the surrounding communities, or the work out areas you would find at a hotel.”
One of the first spaces to be renovated was a computer lab room that was no longer serving students to the capacity it previously was. Once space was decided, Campus Recreation had to decide whether to buy new equipment or take from the current inventory.
“We initially started out with equipment suppliers to complete renderings in the spaces with suggested equipment,” explained Lanham. “Due to the proposed budget, we went a different direction to utilize equipment that was already in Campus Recreation’s inventory. Our department is fortunate to have a four to six-year replacement plan on most of our cardio equipment. Rather than cycling out a few pieces this last year, we decided to hold onto several units and extend their life span by placing them in the residence halls.”
With inventory equipment decided on, Campus Recreation faced the challenge of selecting items that would be minimal risk, due to the spaces not being directly supervised 24/7. One other challenge was selecting items that would not be ‘walk-out’ items. As a result, all equipment selected were pieces too large to easily be moved out of the rooms.
Within the partnership, Campus Recreation contributed interlocking rubber flooring tiles and equipment while Housing took on the responsibility of infrastructure changes to the spaces.
One of the added bonuses to Campus Recreation as a result of this partnership is the ability to place signage in the residence halls highlighting more options and programming in the recreation facility. Additionally, the fitness rooms in residence halls shows incoming students, who may have not visited the recreation center yet, what all is available to them.
“Anytime we can meet the student population where they are and give them an option to move is a benefit,” said Lanham. “Nebraska climate is not always the best and having [the fitness rooms] open in January with subzero temperatures and snow was great. Students have access in their living units, and it brings awareness to other campus resources they have as students.”