Rec center celebrates anniversary

Tanika Snyder

Six-year old Samantha Zeller sticks herself onto the “Sticky Wall” Saturday at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center as a part of the Rec center’s six-year anniversary celebration.

Credit: Tanika Snyder

It was one of Kent State’s biggest parties of the year — and it was completely alcohol free.

Hundreds of people joined the Student Recreation and Wellness Center in celebrating its sixth anniversary party Saturday.

“The anniversary is basically in celebration of the building’s existence,” said Jason Hawk, special events coordinator for the rec center. “When this building was made it was a milestone for Kent State and we want to recognize that.”

The grand opening of the building was April 1, 1999. Before the rec center was built, students strengthened and toned their bodies in the Gym Annex, where they were forced to share space with many credited classes because there simply wasn’t enough room, Hawk said.

The new rec center gave students and community members 153,000 square feet of workout space, which is almost the equivalent of three football fields.

“I’ve been here a couple times,” said Robin Kovacs of Hartville. “I have two bricks out front for donating money to the center when it was first being built.”

Kovacs attended the anniversary celebration with her husband and three stepsons.

“We wanted to come today to see what is offered,” Kovacs said. “We got here at 12:15 p.m. and plan on staying all day. The kids are having a blast; the first thing they wanted to do was play dodgeball. They also want to try the rock climbing wall and sticky wall and eventually end up in the pool.”

Free climbs on the rock climbing wall, dodgeball and a Velcro sticky wall are just the beginning to a long list of events and activities the celebration offered. Others included free fitness demo classes, a magic show by Guinness Book of World Records holder Rick Smith, Jr., a live performance by Radio Disney and a mad science show.

The anniversary is an opportune time to bring the community and university closer. Everyone was invited and everything was free, Hawk said.

Kovacs said her family is considering becoming members of the rec center. She said her stepsons are quickly learning where everything is, and her husband is very fond of the weight room. Her youngest stepson, 7-year-old Jamie, was enjoying the anniversary celebration so much that he asked Kovacs if the rec center could be the family’s new home.

Prizes, including two Apple iPod shuffles, were given away throughout the day. Guests could also visit area business and organization information tables, which were set-up in the mall area. These included Gabriel Brothers, the Cleveland Browns and American Family Insurance among others.

The American Red Cross was also holding a blood drive in the rec center’s two seminar rooms from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s (the anniversary celebration) really nice and well-organized,” Kovacs said. “It’s safe, family-friendly and the staff seems to be having fun as well. I really like how they’re bringing the kids in and doing stuff with them.”

To learn more about the rec center and view upcoming events and activities, visit

Contact fitness reporter Tanika Snyder at [email protected].