Wellness Center changes during COVID-19; Climbing Wall resumes in Phase 2

Nathan Turoff, Student Government Reporter

One of UNF’s greatest aspects is it’s incredibly unique and diverse range of physical activities and other programs designed to help students maintain physical and, by extension, mental health – even in the age of COVID-19. 

First opened in 2012, the facility cost almost 20 million dollars to construct, and contains state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, with 27,000 square feet of space. Needless to say, the Complex was immensely popular with hundreds of UNF students, whether they be fitness junkies, or just trying to get in better shape.

However, just like almost every other aspect of our lives, the experience of the Student Wellness Complex has changed a bit in the time of COVID-19. Ashley Ballard and Heather Kite, Senior Director and Associate Director of the Department of Recreation and Wellness, were gracious enough to sit down for a Zoom Interview with Spinnaker.

They gave incredible insight into how the Wellness Complex was adapting to meet the needs of students, while also staying safe and COVID-free. They explained how, in addition to national standards of social distancing like wearing masks, they have gone “above and beyond” in making sure students are safe. One way they have done this is with the Complex now having limited capacity, limited hours on weekdays, and being fully closed on the weekends.

In addition to these modified working hours, they have scheduled it so that for every 2 hours it is open, they then close down everything for one hour to clean it. Another way they have done this is making sure individuals in the gym are eight to ten feet away from each other, as opposed to just six feet. Many machines have been removed or sealed off to accommodate this level of social distancing, so not all activities that were previously available still are.

The 3rd level indoor running track, free weights, and rock-climbing wall are not open at this time, and they are scheduled to resume operations in a planned “Phase 2” of reopening. When asked about this, they couldn’t stress this enough, but the fact is: nothing is certain. Nobody knows exactly what the future will hold, but the best case scenario is that the Wellness Center will begin Phase 2 of reopening in late September or early October – this is hardly set in stone. 

You can find the Student Wellness’ new hours and ploicies in a previous Spinnaker article, here.

This is just a great example of how the UNF community can adapt to face any struggle. Only together can we push through this pandemic.


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