By DIANA RUSSELL
Tucked away on the second floor of the Student Center/Gymnasium, occupying a space that once was a stage, is a well known, but sometimes overlooked facility the Fitness Center. It may be known to all students who have a student ID, but it isn’t really known unless you have exercised on the array of fitness equipment. The 1,200 square foot facility opened in December of the year 2000 to “support the reinstitution of athletics, meet recreational fitness and for intramurals,” according to Joe Hibbs Director of Student Life. He further explained that “the design was based on space and money. Larger was more desirable, but the college also needed office space and room for lockers.” During the first year of operation, the Fitness Center was run by the Center for Health and Fitness located at College Drive and Sherman Avenue. This organization purchased the very durable equipment that is still in use today.
The Fitness Center is used by CCC students and staff who are looking to get in shape for athletic events, lose weight, tone up, slim down, and generally be more physically fit. This is done in a friendly, supportive environment with upbeat music playing in the background. Four television screens offer a variety of stations ranging from MTV to ESPN. Headphones can be attached to the aerobic equipment so that you can listen to the televisions or you may bring your own personal headphones. On average, there are 50-60 people using the Fitness Center daily, with a slight decline during mid-terms and finals. Along one wall there is cardio equipment for aerobic exercise, treadmills, recumbent bikes and elliptical machines, and there are fourteen weight machines for upper, lower and core muscle groups. Other equipment includes a stretch chair, exercise balls, power balls, mats, cardio steps, and jump ropes. Freshman Brett Peter uses the weights “to keep in shape using different machines for different areas of the body.” Sophomore Andrea Santiago was sent by her softball coach “to start warming up for softball in the spring. I will be doing more hard core work starting in January,” she said.
While there never been numerous requests for free weights, a rowing machine and a better leg weight machine, according to Joe Hibbs there are no immediate plans to purchase additional equipment because of the limited space. For example, if a rowing machine is purchased another piece of equipment would have to be eliminated. Even a rack of dumbbells, in place of the free weights, would need a workout area. The gym often has to substitute for dance and aerobic workouts.
Staff members, Sue Law and Tywon Ford, are certified personal trainers who are available to help set up a personal exercise program (an appointment may be necessary). They both belong to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, and are re-certified every six months. Other staff members include Assistant Director Shawn Ferris, Coaches Jim Marketto, Larry Simonini and Amy Holliday, and secretary Debbie Iacovelli. In addition to assisting students and staff with equipment use and safe exercise methods, the staff maintains and cleans the equipment daily. All equipment is disinfected after each use, cleaned every morning and evening, and thoroughly scrubbed weekly.
The Fitness Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 6:30pm and Friday from 9:30am to 4:00pm. During the summer or college breaks the Fitness Center is closed on Fridays, and it is closed when the college is closed. Students and staff must have a valid college ID and wear proper fitness attire, including sneakers, to use the equipment. Sports drinks or water in plastic bottles are allowed, and lockers are available. If you have any questions, or need to make an appointment, please call 691-8600 ext 432. As one anonymous student in her fifties put it, “Why not use the facility? After all, I am paying for it through my college fees, so I might as well get smart AND skinny while I’m attending Cumberland County College!”