Rivaling rec centers have faults, benefits

Laura Rushnok

A Kent State student walked up to the equipment check-in table on the downstairs level of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. The student was told it would be a 40-minute wait.

This is a common occurrence at the rec center in the fall and spring semesters. Fifteen miles to the southwest, however, it is a different story.

Kent State and rival the University of Akron reconstructed their Student Recreation and Wellness Centers within five years of each other. Now, seven years after Kent State’s grand opening and three years after Akron’s, Kent State is short on space.

Walking into Akron’s recreation center, with 126 stations of cardio equipment and 114 strength units, is overwhelming. However, during busy periods, one can expect a bit of a wait also.

“Our busy time is between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.,” said Chris Painter, University of Akron’s membership manager. “You might encounter a 10-minute wait.”

Don’t worry about signing in and time limits, though, because they don’t exist, Akron rec center employee Trent Wolf said.

With Kent State’s 83 stations of cardio equipment, it’s all about time constraints. After waiting half an hour to an hour for an elliptical or treadmill, a student is limited to 30 minutes on the machine.

“I usually have to wait about a half hour to get on a treadmill,” Katia Wozniak, junior psychology major, said. “Then I don’t get to use my whole 30 minutes because someone comes five minutes early and kicks me off.”

Leah Campbell, a transfer student from the University of Akron, doesn’t understand why the rec centers differ so much.

“The facilities at Akron are much more spread out,” Campbell said. “At Kent, I feel like I am working out on top of everyone.”

Paula Murray, membership and marketing director, says that the Kent State rec center has advantages over Akron’s.

“One slight advantage of a community member is that Akron U still shares its spaces with its athletics,” Murray said. “That happens here sometimes but very rarely. We are the last place athletics come to. Akron has more of that, which means more sharing of space and less time for open recreation.”

In 2006, Kent State had about 3,000 more full-time undergraduate students than Akron did, according to Peterson’s College Database.

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Laura Rushnok at [email protected].