Dillon Gym renovations pump up fitness options
by Eric Quiñones
Dillon Gymnasium users now have more fitness options after renovations this summer increased the number of cardiovascular exercise machines and upgraded the Stephens Fitness Center and other areas of the facility.
Responding to users’ requests for additional cardio equipment, two former storage rooms on the basement level of Dillon have been converted into cardio rooms, one with 16 stationary bicycles and the other with 11 elliptical machines. Together with an adjacent existing spinning room, this area will be known as the “cardio annex.” The two new rooms are air-conditioned and will feature two flat-panel plasma televisions and stereo sound systems.
In total, Dillon will now offer at least 70 pieces of cardio equipment, up from 59. Twenty treadmills are now available in Stephens, up from eight, using some of the space previously occupied by equipment that has been moved into the cardio annex. Renovations in Stephens also included the installation of a rope-climbing simulator, new carpeting and six plasma televisions as well as upgrades of some elliptical and climbing machines.
Elsewhere in Dillon, floors have been repaired and refinished in the upper-level multipurpose room — used for fitness classes as well as club sports and other student activity group practices — as well as the dance studio and the most frequently used squash courts on the basement level. Two new scoreboards will be installed in late September and new window screens have been installed in the main gym, which consists of four multiuse courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton and hosts varsity volleyball and wrestling events.
The project also includes enhancements to signage throughout Dillon to help new users find their way around the facility. This work is expected to continue through mid-September.
“We have been very pleased to have the University’s support for improvements to our campus recreation facilities and programs,” said Vice President for Campus Life Janet Dickerson. “Everyone who seeks to enjoy a healthy lifestyle will benefit from the modifications being made to Dillon and the Stephens Fitness Center and from enhanced funding earmarked for intramural and recreational activities and sport clubs. We particularly appreciate the continuing input from undergraduate and graduate student government leaders who have contributed so helpfully to our planning processes.”
David Leach, associate director of athletics for campus recreation, said the renovations to Dillon were guided by feedback from users. “In the spring, we held a campus recreation brainstorming session with a cross-section of students, faculty and staff from around campus, and the theme that emerged was the need for more cardio equipment to address the fitness needs of the community,” Leach said.
“We have been looking at every nook and cranny within Dillon Gym to utilize space effectively,” he said.
The project also was informed by a meeting last spring with representatives of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), Dickerson, Director of Athletics Gary Walters and Leach. “Our students certainly have driven this forward — they have been very vocal in a constructive, positive way, and the administration heard their voices,” Leach said.
Junior Liz Rosen, the USG’s liaison for campus recreation, said, “The state of our fitness facilities is of utmost concern for a majority of students, hence the USG has put a great effort this past semester into making it a priority in the eyes of the University’s administration. We are certainly hopeful that the changes being made this summer will improve many students’ experiences with Dillon.”
This summer’s project follows other improvements at Dillon in recent years, including renovations, the expansion of hours and the addition of support staff. These efforts were guided by recommendations of President Tilghman’s Task Force on Health and Well-Being, which was created to address the health care needs and promote the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. In addition to the Dillon improvements, the Office of the Provost has approved additional annual funding for transportation, medical assistance, logistical support, staffing and postseason play for sport clubs and to support intramurals and special recreation events.
Dillon’s other areas of use include a swimming pool, a group fitness room and a martial arts room.