Saturday, 10 March, marked the start of yet another University of Wisconsin- Parkside renovation – this time the focus on sports, health, and wellness. The UW-Parkside Sports and Activity Center (SAC) is undergoing an estimated $1.5 million remodeling project that will transform two racquetball courts and the current weight room into the 4,170 square foot Ranger Fitness Center, complete with a dance studio space and sports medicine treatment area. Renovations are expected to be completed in time for fall semester 2012. Currently, free weights from the weight room are moved to the Wellness Center. The Center closed last week to remodel for the weight equipment, but reopened Wednesday, 14 March, and will remain open to students and SAC members.
The university’s Athletic director Tamie Falk-Day spoke of the renovation by stating, “Although the area was renovated 11 years ago, we [UW-Parkside] have outgrown the space and technology…the new facilities should improve recruitment and retention of athletes in addition to keeping students, faculty, and staff healthier through exercise.”
And Falk-Day is right. Since the 2001 renovations, UW-Parkside has had to establish a Bachelor’s of Science program to deal with the 300 plus percent influx of students throughout the decade pursing degrees in health and fitness fields.
Recent graduate from University of Wisconsin Parkside Anthony Rodriguez exclaimed of the new fitness center plan, “I wish we had this, when I was getting my degree in Sports Medicine…it would be cool to see, with the expanded space, a possible dance major started here also.”
Funded through an increase of student fees, the new center will be adding exterior windows and multi-zoned heating and cooling equipment for the building. New fitness equipment will be installed and added class space will accommodate the still growing Applied Health Science programs. SUFAC budgeting also consists of covering costs, employee salary, and increasing the SAC’s operating hours.
While it is projected that the Ranger Fitness Center’s revenue will not cover the renovation costs, the center’s largest competitor, the RecPlex, has a high monthly membership cost which could entice new SAC members. Despite the criticism, the outcome seems optimistic for the center’s new development.