What do you call it when a Zumba class, a body-builder, and a track athlete enter a room at the same time…chaos in the Daniel Meyer Fitness Center! As many have noticed wandering through the east side of campus, McNeal is beginning its renovation from the ground up. This means that classes are being displaced and having to double up in certain areas on campus. The Daniel Meyer’s Fitness Center has become a host to many, as Athletic Activity Classes now additionally share the floor space with athletes working out for practice.
What this means for the current state of the Fitness Center is a change of open hours, a new feng shui, and a tight fit of equipment and people working out. The overall estimated completion date for the new Fitness center is about a year and a half out. Coordinator of Athletics Operations, Natasha Ford, addresses how long this new change will remain in effect, “It is unclear how long the Athletic classes will take place in the Fitness Center”, but she remains positive to the current situation. She also teaches the Zumba section and acknowledges that the new venue isn’t as intimate, but the classes are having fun and adjusting. “We just ‘dance like everyone’s watching’ ”, Ford mentions.
In between an upper body workout, Shannon Maas mentions the importance of respect in sharing the space. Maas is SOU’s former director of the Daniel Meyers Fitness Center, and current assistant track coach. Although the presence of the Athletic Activity Classes are apparent now more than ever in the Fitness Center, they have definitely contributed in other ways. “Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba…part of the money we generate from those classes feeds into the Fitness Center, that money helps purchase new gym equipment”, Maas said as he scans the abundance of equipment in the room. These classes add value to SOU in a multitude of ways which is why faculty is determined to make space for them.
Beyond the athletic classes, some would consider it, “Awkward… and it’s tight”, says junior Austin Manera. Manera works front desk at the Fitness Center, and describes the scene from a gym goer perspective and also an employee. The Fitness Center now has a temporary wall in the middle of the second floor, more equipment, and also additional padded flooring . The changes have also affected how the previous equipment is oriented. “You’re running on the elliptical and you’re less than a foot away from the person next to you”, Manera gestures with his hands. Comfort zones seem to be decreasing in the Fitness Center, but only temporarily.
Avid gym goer Cassandra Constant works out at the Fitness Center everyday the gym is open, and described herself as an “early morning workout person”. She expressed the key to maintaining her gym routine in the midst of the crowds is getting in early, “the morning is the down time”, (which is between 7am and 9am) says Constant mid stretch.
So at the Fitness Center you can expect to run into a group of people Zumba dancing on the floor, or even an occasional tight fit of elliptical users. There are pros and cons of an adjustment such as this, “As with many types of change there can be bumps along the way, but one pro is that the general population is becoming more aware of types of fitness classes offered”, Ford says.