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From the Archives: New Fitness and Lifestyle Centre makes grand opening

As you hit the Fitness and Lifestyle Centre to conquer new year resolutions, take a moment to ready about its opening in 2014

It’s the new year, marking January the month of resolutions. A time-old resolution is returning to the gym as a way to make more time for self-care.

As the Hanson Fitness and Lifestyle Centre bustles with new motivation this semester and completes some locker room renovations, The Gateway revisits the December 3, 2014 issue covering the opening of the fitness centre.

By: Richard Catangay-Liew — The Gateway 2014-15 News Editor.

“Jerry Osolu won’t miss the University of Alberta’s old stuffy and dimly lit Fitness and Lifestyle Centre (FLC).

He — like many frequent FLC users — welcomes the new, spacious FLC in the Physical Activity and Wellness (PAW) Centre, which officially opened its doors on Dec 1.

The new centre showcases $900,000 in new fitness equipment, including 20 treadmills, 23 elliptical, 16 spin bikes, nine upright bikes, three recumbent bikes and eight rowers. In total, there are 175 pieces of equipment in the new facility.

Osolu will spend much of his workout in the two new dumbbell and barbell areas and 17 strength strength racks and cages. But the new FLC currently lacks one crucial element to his workout — mirrors.

“People wanna see their gains while they’re working out, right?” Osolu said, after his first lift session in the new FLC.

He added that he feels like there aren’t enough weights in the new centre, but realizes that areas of the new FLC are still under construction and acknowledged there’s “still room for improvement.”

FLC Supervisor David Lyle said the feedback thus far has been great, and they are aware of the most common issues — such as the lack of mirrors and clocks — and are working to resolve them as more of the facility is being assembled.

The old FLC saw approximately 2,300 people per day and Lyle expects the new facility to serve upwards of 4,000 people per day. In the past, Lyle found people would enter the old FLC, find out it’s too busy, then leave. But with twice the equipment and floor space in the new FLC, Lyle said there should be lots of room for fitness fanatics to break a sweat.

Lyle also said he hopes that the new renovated facility will entice U of A gym-goers who own memberships at other fitness centres across the city to stay on campus with the FLC’s slew of new programming, space, and equipment.

Certain areas of the new FLC are still taped off, as some synergies are still being assembled and more equipment arrives. The new FLC is expected to be fully operational by January 2015, Lyle said.

Also nearing completion is the new climbing centre. Those pedaling on stationary bikes will soon be facing fully functional 7,503-square-foot climbing and rappelling wall, which are expected to be ready by Jan. 2, 2015. The new climbing centre is four times the size of the current climbing centre in the Butterdome.

The old fitness facility in the Van Vliet Centre, which closed its doors on Nov. 28, will soon be rebuilt into a dance studio on the second floor with the main floor being converted into an expansion of the Steward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement. Any equipment in the old fitness centre that wasn’t relocated to the new centre — such as old dumbbell weight sets — will be donated to youth clubs around the city.

The total cost of the 110,686-square-foot PAW centre is estimated at $ 58 million. $30 million will be supplied by a referendum-approved non-instructional levy of $29 in fall and winter terms and 14.50 in spring and summer terms. Students will pay the levy for 20 years, starting in the 2014-15 academic year.

The grand opening of the PAW Centre is currently set for March 19, 2015.

Lyle, who has overseen the floor plans of the new FLC since the turning of the sod in fall 2012, remains excited for what the facility can be when it’s fully operational.

“I think really to start it off, everything is really clicking as much as it can,” Lyle said. “We’re still building, but it’s only going to get better.'”

Khadra Ahmed
Khadra Ahmed

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