For any student that has taken a stroll up Loyola Drive or happened to hear the clamor of construction equipment from the Barone Campus Center, it is easily apparent that something is happening. That something is the renovation of the Leslie C. Quick Jr., Recreation Complex.

The RecPlex has recently been subject to a major facelift with construction beginning at the end of the 2015 spring semester, and slated to be completed by August 2016.

The 14-month project is a ground up renovation that will add 10,000 square feet to the RecPlex’s previous size, totaling to become a 61,000-square-foot facility.

The renovated RecPlex will boast almost double the amount of workout equipment; there will now be 20-25 treadmills, a substantial increase from the previous 11. Along with this we will see the addition of an indoor track and hotspots to improve Wi-Fi. There will also be an upgraded air ventilation system that will increase airflow and cooling, making for a more suitable environment that keeps students comfortable, while protecting the integrity of the machines from rust. Additionally, the electrical will be updated to accommodate the greater quantity of workout equipment and also provide convenient outlets for students.

With all of these new changes, one would expect attendance to skyrocket next year. However, it appears that patrons of the RecPlex will be primarily underclassmen. When asked who uses the RecPlex, Katie Goodfellow ‘18 jokingly responded, “Mostly first years trying to keep off the freshman 15; yeah its real, don’t let it creep up on you.”

This would seem to be true, according to Director of the RecPlex Philip Palumbo, who notes that nearly 100 percent of the freshman class, along with over 90 percent of the sophomore class, use this facility.

A recent survey of 30 random students revealed that most — 57 percent —  were unsure how they felt about the construction. An additional 30 percent of students reported they were upset with the construction, while only 13 percent said they were excited.

Freshman Rob Bertino replied when asked about the construction, “I am happy that it [the RecPlex] is being renovated, and I’m excited for it to be completed next year.”

Other freshmen, like Nikki Seiler, expressed their disappointment in not having a workout facility currently, but said that “As a new student, I am thankful for what is available on campus.”

There are mixed feelings on campus among underclassmen as to their feelings about the construction. Most sophomores and juniors stated they will simply be using off-campus facilities next year as it will be easier, less crowded by underclassmen and more convenient for those in the Class of 2017 living off campus.Therefore they won’t be around to make use of the newly renovated facility for their junior and senior years.

Despite those students reporting dissatisfaction with the construction, the University has made a concerted effort to keep students active through such measures as relocating a large sum of equipment from the RecPlex to the basement level of Alumni Hall for students to utilize, as well as Fairfield Fit, which offers free supplement classes such as CrossFit and Pilates to students, faculty and staff.  

Accordingly, the StagBus now makes hourly stops at the local fitness center, The Edge Fitness Club, whose business seems to have increased due to the construction here on campus. Manager of The Edge Tiffany Lugo notes they hold more than 100 student members from Fairfield. The fitness center’s table at the Activities Fair last Friday saw an additional 25 students sign up in just a few hours. When asked if she notices a specific time that Fairfield students seem to go to The Edge, Lugo replied, “Yes, at about 3 p.m. on  [Sept. 8], 41 members signed in, about 20 of whom were Fairfield students.” She also stated when asked if the facility was busier than in the past, “I’m not sure as we have a mostly new managerial staff, but from what I have heard it is apparently much busier than before.”

The construction is currently on schedule to be completed by August 2016, which means that students can look forward to utilizing the newly renovated RecPlex as early as the fall of next year.

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