Campus Rec Amenities and Spring Semester Plans

Photo+By+Ananth+Prabhu

Photo By Ananth Prabhu

Ananth Prabhu, Writer

When considering the commitment of attending a local or campus gym, it is imperative to understand the availability of the features that it offers. Simply put, all gyms vary. NEIU’s Physical Education Complex is unique in its combination of activities. Also, the recreation center is available to both students and community members.

 

Currently, Campus Rec is only open weekdays Monday through Friday. However, in the Spring 2023 Semester, it will be open on Saturdays as well.

 

To understand the availability of its amenities, you must check it out room by room. The amenities include two fitness studios, a weight and cardiovascular room, five regulation sized basketball courts in a combination of two gymnasiums, a quarter kilometer walking and running path, three racquetball courts, a boxing room, a rock-climbing wall, a tennis table and billiards table. It is important to mention that the boxing room is available to both students and community members only during the striking class’s meeting times. The gymnasiums are used for basketball, soccer, volleyball and pickleball throughout each week. Badminton is set up in one of the racquetball courts.

 

The equipment room has all the sporting equipment necessary for visitors to rent out. A student ID card is the only necessary item for students to gain access to the equipment. A community member would need a valid state ID or driver’s license to gain access to the same equipment. Furthermore, faculty and staff members can use their faculty ID cards to gain access to the sporting equipment. The equipment consists of basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, pickleballs, badminton birdies, ping pong balls, billiard balls, cue sticks and all the necessary rackets and paddles that may be checked out by facility patrons. In addition, there are shower towels and gym towels to rent out. Speaking of showering, there are showers in the locker room for visitors to use. In addition, there are soap dispensers available with foam soap. However, unlike other recreation center facilities, there are no shower curtains that divide the showers. Two of the showers have accessibility options via folding seats. Technically, these two shower stalls in the men’s locker room have shower curtains, but they are torn and broken, requiring replacement shower curtains. These two stalls are considered ‘accessible’ stalls because they have foldable seats in them. The remaining showers are in a large empty room with no dividers or shower curtains whatsoever.  Shower curtains are beneficial to give some privacy to patrons while making them more comfortable.

 

The lockers around the perimeter of the locker rooms allow visitors to bring their own locks, and the lockers in the two central islands can be rented out by obtaining a key with an ID card at the equipment desk. It is important to mention that all lockers are for daily use only and must be emptied out before building closure.

 

There are a variety of intramural sports and games that continue on a weekly basis. The schedule for these games seems to be changing while new games are added. Thus, it is important to ask a staff member in the recreation center for the current listing of sports and games that take place in the two gymnasiums.

 

As discussed in the Nov. 1 issue of The Independent, the rock-climbing is the most inimitable amenity of the entire recreation facility. The reason for it to be so incomparable to other recreation centers is that it typically costs upwards of $20 to climb for one day plus the additional cost of climbing shoes, harnesses and chalk bags. At NEIU, these frivolous costs are completely waived with a student ID or community membership. There is a small catch with the student ID policy because students must be registered for a minimum of six college credits. However, that is fair because NEIU is an academic institution after all, and higher education ought to continue to be the priority. For reference of the costs of rock-climbing walls at other facilities, you may check out an off-campus local recreational facility’s website. The bottom line is that it is very expensive to climb off-campus! So, you should definitely take advantage of NEIU’s Campus Recreation Facility when it comes to climbing.

 

Currently, there are six group workout classes available for all students and community members. The classes are Total Body Aerobics, Beginner Yoga, Sports Performance, Self-Defense, Striking and Zumba. These classes are not to be confused with academic classes.  These sporty classes are available on a walk-in basis with no prior reservations needed.

 

Times Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
10:00 am – 11:00 am Sports Performance Class

Studio 2

10:30 am – 11:30 am Sports Performance Class

Studio 2

Sports Performance Class

Studio 2

11:30 am – 12:30 pm Total Body Aerobics Class

Studio 1

Total Body Aerobics Class

Studio 1

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Striking Class

Racquetball Court 4

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Beginner Yoga Class

Studio 1

Beginner Yoga Class

Studio 1

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm Self-Defense Class

Studio 1

Self-Defense Class

Studio 1

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Zumba Class

Studio 1

 

You should keep in mind that it is nearing the end of the fall semester, and the instructional workout class schedule will be different for the Spring 2023 Semester.

 

The men’s locker room’s steam room had been closed for much of the Fall Semester.  According to facilities management on Nov 17, 2022, it had been stated that the steam room in the men’s locker room is closed due to parts needing to be installed. The replacement parts have been purchased, but they still needed to be installed for a fully functioning steam room.  On Dec 1, 2022, facilities management had repaired the steam room, and the steam room is now available to members during normal operating hours.

 

The issue of the swimming pool must be discussed because it remains an unavailable amenity at the moment. It is currently closed, and when asking a variety of staff members, visitors are only told “the pool is closed until further notice.” It is completely unknown when the pool may open up. It may be in a full calendar year from now, two years from now, or even longer. Thus, patrons are left in the dark about knowing the swimming pool’s whereabouts and operations.

 

As for next semester’s plans at the Campus Recreation Center, there will still be sports and games of all sorts in the two gymnasiums. The days and timings of the sports and games for spring semester are currently unknown as of the day of this article’s publication. The rental of equipment will still be available. The days and times of the instructional workout classes are also unknown. In addition, campus recreation has the plan to be open on Saturdays in the spring semester, which will allow it to be open six days per week unlike in the fall semester, which is weekdays only.

 

There are about a dozen stationary bikes in Studio 2, but there is no instructional spin class yet, and it is unknown if and when such a class will exist during the spring semester.

 

On the bright side, there are plans in progress for the rock-climbing wall to expand beyond the current horizontal bouldering wall and vertical rock climbing wall. Drum roll please! There is going to be a staff training seminar for the high ropes’ obstacle course in the auxiliary gymnasium in January! Thus, the high ropes obstacle course will be available in the spring semester. To top it off, the amenities of climbing and bouldering in the auxiliary gymnasium may be offered up to three days per week. As discussed during staff meetings, the preliminary and yet ambitious plan for climbing in the spring semester is for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, however, the plans may change slightly. The high ropes obstacle course will likely be open on a monthly basis.

 

According to a researcher at the Recreational Sports Journal, in a paper titled “The Influence of Campus Recreation beyond the Gym,” a whopping 96% of facility users in the study concurred that “campus recreation facilities and programs improved the quality of student life at the University [of Kentucky].” Also, the students that were a part of the study were found to obtain several benefits under being more sociable, engaging culturally and joining alliances with other students. The students were also found to engage in social group bonding practices while integrating with the university as a whole. As you can see, there are a multitude of benefits from engaging with campus recreational activities.

 

The conclusion to draw from Campus Rec is that it is very unique to its amenity offerings, despite the pool being currently unavailable. Until the pool reopens, the most worthwhile activity to do at campus recreation may continue to be the rock-climbing operations. As long as the pool remains closed, feel free to accept the analogous thought that rock-climbing is like vertical swimming, and the belayers on the ground are like the lifeguards of the pool. The climbing wall is definitely the most valuable amenity of the recreation center as of now because the general cost of it at other facilities is very high!