CRCT redesign leaves mixed feelings
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 in News
The UAB Campus Recreation Center closed May 12 to May 15 for a variety of renovations and maintenance. Although the CRCT has completed the remodeling of its interior, the staff is steadily seeking ways to improve the facility.
Sean Ries, Director of the UAB Campus Recreation, said he is working with all students with their concerns with the changes.
“We have met with satisfied and unsatisfied students to explain what changes we have made in the facility and why,” Ries said. “They’re all very much understanding now of these changes. We’re getting tons of positive feedback as well, and I feel pretty good at where we are.”
The renovations are part of a change in management for the Rec Center.
The CRCT began the renovation planning process by conducting a survey for student input. From there, employees, focus groups, and patrons were asked for their suggestions of how the CRCT could be improved.
The completed renovations include updated equipment, UAB branding, layout adjustments, minor architectural changes and more.
If there’s anything that the CRCT wants its patrons to know, it’s that they are open to comments, suggestions and opinions. In fact, these forms of input are what brought about the renovations.
In reaction to the changes Hector ‘Dominic’ DeSimone launched a Facebook group and a Web site, wewantourrecback.org, in order to fight for change at the CRCT.
DeSimone said he has met with numerous employees at the CRCT including Bob Holub, assistant director of facliites and operations. However, weeks later nothing has changed.
Kelly Leuch, a CRCT employee and patron, said it’s up to the patrons to say what they want to see the changes they desire.
“Through the discontent and the voice of our regular kickboxing students, the CRCT adjusted the summer schedule to have instructors teach the summer kickboxing classes. Keep telling the recreation center, and you’ll be surprised about how much your voice will make a difference!”
When patrons first walk into the remodeled facility, changes are in plain sight. Before the renovations, the recreation center sported neutral colors. Now upon entering, green and gold are now the primary colors of UAB’s CRCT. New banners have replaced outdated pictures, and revised maps are posted throughout the facility.
The card-swipes are now placed behind the front-desk to prevent identity theft. The welcome desk now serves as a “one-stop shop” where equipment can be rented and memberships can be bought.
For the first time in seven years, memberships are available for purchase whenever the Recreation Center is open. Also, the staff drained the pool. A custodial in-house team has replaced UAB custodial, which is still used everywhere else on campus.
Additionally, the fitness corridor has been changed into a student lounge area.
The CRCT director said he has seen positive results.
“So far, the lounge has been packed because we’ve made it all free. The air hockey, foosball and billiards are now free,” said Ries. We’re also adding a Wii and Xbox so we can offer Madden and bowling tournaments. It opens up a whole new dimension for us as a department and for students.”
The fitness and weight center are now in a central area. In addition, walls are put in place for a more private workout. During the renovation period, no free weight equipment was lost and new equipment was brought in, including Woodway treadmills, recumbent, and upright bikes.
The CRCT director said his focus is safety.
“We made our fitness center adaptable for liability reasons,” said Ries. Since I’ve come to UAB, I’ve been about zero-risk. For liability purposes, we decided to keep our fitness and weight center in one area. This makes it easier to supervise. We always have people around to keep you safe. Zero-risk is a key component because we want everyone to feel safe.”
However, DeSimone said he thinks the redesign has made the weight equipment unsafe because of the close quartersand that women feel like they are on display while on treadmills because of their placement in front of large windows.
More changes are on the way including two Adaptive Motion Trainers, two stair mills, new televisions and a pro-shop. The Kids Zone will offer additional activities for a minimal fee, and new programs will be offered.
Ries said the CRCT will later start new programs including community leagues, a team-building program, summer and day camps and adapted recreation.
In order to design and staff these programs, the CRCT is actively seeking interns who are excited about change at the recreation center.
Ries said he would like more UAB students to come on board for internships.
“Campus Recreation is a profession. I want to help you get a career, not a job,” Ries said.
DeSimone said he still feels the changes are for the worst.
“I wish no ill will of UAB, and I respect the management,” he said. “I just feel that the Rec Center went from first class to second class.”
The Department of Campus Recreation is focused on making the Recreation Center the best it can be by listening to its members. UAB CRCT patrons may provide further input by filling out comment cards, surveys, Facebook and Twitter comments and by making an appointment with a CRCT employee.
Additional reporting by Eric Roberts, email@example.com.