Rec Center celebrates 20th anniversary, plans enhancements for fall

The Kent State Student Recreation and Wellness Center offers many activities to promote a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness, seen here during a climbing competition, Feb. 23, 2013. FILE.

Jade Critchfield

In celebration of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center’s 20th anniversary, Recreational Services has plans to add new classes and other enhancements to the Rec. 

Kim Rufra, the director of Recreational Services, hopes to get the improvements finished before the upcoming fall semester.

Some changes include painting the Rec in Kent State colors, adding more lockers to the men’s locker room and introducing new programs, such as F45 classes, Rufra said.

F45 classes are 45-minute, high-intensity aerobic workouts that offer the same class throughout the day and have different classes every day of the week.

“We provide group fitness classes now, where students and our members have the opportunity to purchase passes to go to all of those classes,” Rufra said. “This [F45] would be in addition to that, where we would provide additional opportunities and different types of classes for students, members and nonmembers to be able to come and participate.”

The Rec center fee will not increase because of the enhancements.

The Kent main campus Master Plan, a 10-year renovation plan of campus facilities, also includes renovations to the Rec.

Parts of this plan include constructing additional indoor courts, creating more group fitness rooms, building houses around the Rec for students, faculty and the community and adding more outdoor fields.

There is no determined date when the proposed renovations and expansions will start and finish because there currently isn’t funding for them, said Michael Bruder, the director of Facilities, Planning and Operations.

It would cost about $80 million to complete the entire Master Plan for the Rec, which is why there’s no priority or urgency to complete it, Bruder said.

Recreational facilities can be deciding factors for incoming freshmen when they are trying to determine which college to attend. Campus recreation facilities influenced 68% of college students in their decision of which college or university to attend, and recreation programs influenced 62% of students, according to 2014 research from the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association.

“The Rec center has been a huge part of why I love Kent so much and why I have really really enjoyed my last four years here,” said Kaitlin Groscost, a senior education major.

Since opening in 1999, the facility has won architectural design awards and was featured in magazines as one of the top fitness facilities in the nation, according to Recreational Services’ website.

A small facility was also added to Tri-Towers because students were using recreation facilities more often.

“Our student participation was either right on or a little bit above the national average,” Bruder said. “Kids are engaged, and every generation pays attention to fitness a little bit more than the previous one.”

The Rec may have some changes coming up, but students still enjoy the facility as it is.  

“I feel that it’s a comforting and positive environment to work out in because almost everyone there is my age and goes to Kent with me,” Groscost said.  “It kind of feels like a little community.”

Jade Critchfield covers health and fitness. Contact her at [email protected]