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Fitness equipment relocates to UNF Arena at end of fall term

The Dottie Dorion Fitness Center will close after the fall semester while the university begins plans for building the new UNF Student Wellness and Sports Education Center.

The current fitness center will close in December and the fitness equipment will be temporarily moved into the UNF Arena.

The equipment in the fitness center will be placed into two racquetball courts and rooms 1052, 1053 and 1062. Fitness center manager Jim Baur said the equipment to be moved will include cardiovascular equipment, as well as more complex weightlifting machines. The Arena will have many of the same accessory resources such as a locker room, shower and water fountains.

The classes that would normally take place in the rooms 1052, 1053 and 1062 will be moved to two ballrooms and a few of the meeting rooms in the Student Union.

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Baur said the new center is needed because many students come to the fitness center but cannot find available equipment and leave due to overcrowding. He also said many freshmen base their college choice on the fitness center.

“We’ve fallen behind considerably,” Baur said. “Ten years ago, we were comparable to what other state universities had, but we’ve really fallen behind. So this will get us right up where they are.”

Director of recreation Becky Purser said students working at the fitness center will continue to have jobs during the move. She also said she wants students to come to the Arena to use the free equipment during the transition to a new building.

“We don’t want to lose them to some other gyms around campus, especially not right before we’re gonna open in 11 months this Taj Mahal,” Purser said. “It’ll rival the Student Union.”

Purser said the equipment will be in the Arena during the 11 months it will take to build the new wellness center.

This is not the first time the fitness equipment has been moved to the Arena, Purser said. The fitness equipment was in the Arena for about three years in the 1990s when the school was building the current fitness center.

The wellness center, planned to be opened in spring 2012, will include a 17,000 square feet of fitness space tripling the original building’s 6,500 square feet.

The first floor will house the recreation offices and the new location for the department of health promotion. New additions to the center include larger locker rooms, a rock climbing wall and three group fitness rooms.

The group fitness rooms will house, among other classes, spinning and yoga.

The second floor will have a large fitness center and the third floor will have a three-lane track that overlooks the rest of the building.

Baur said the schedule for hours of operation will be a great change for the wellness center.

“We won’t have to shut down for any special events or athletic competitions like we’ve always had to all these years,” Baur said.

Baur said he is trying to get a partnership with ReRev, a company that retrofits cardiovascular equipment, to convert heat and kinetic energy into electrical energy to power the building. The energy will help power the large fans that will cool the temperature in the fitness center.

Purser said the hours of operations for the fitness equipment in the arena have yet to be decided.

Student Government supported the recreation department’s plans for the center, Purser said.

SG Vice President Giovannie Medina came to committee meetings and helped discuss the layout of the fitness center.

Students who do not want to use the equipment in the Arena can go to the nearest YMCA for some special rates. YMCA Director of Communications Nikos Westmoreland said YMCA offers the Your Own Unique Rate (YOUR) Program, which offers a student discount that takes off $8 from the initial payment. The YMCA also offers a daily rate of $10 for students who do not wish to pay more for a membership.

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