Weight room renovations include better flooring and new equipment

Gauri Raje, News Editor

Established in 1998, UTSA’s Department of Campus Recreation provides enrolled students with various facilities and amenities. Its goal is to provide “inclusive facilities and programs that enhance the experiences and wellbeing of our diverse community.”

“We’re primarily here to serve the students and provide them with outstanding facilities [and] programs,” Andrew Chadick, senior associate director for Programming and Assessment at Campus Recreation, said.

Recently, the weight room at the Rec underwent a renovation following deliberation by the management team. 

Steve Kudika, the assistant director for Fitness and Wellness at Campus Recreation, explained the thought process that went behind deciding to renovate the weight room. 

The new part of our building was completed in 2007, and a lot of the equipment was … older equipment. So, we saw a couple of things [that were needed]. One, the lifespan of the floor had passed, as well as for some of the equipment, [we were] looking to update some of those things … there are a couple [of] other goals [when] we were looking back through the space,” Kudika said. “One is so we can offer a … user-friendly safe space with [a] high-volume number of participants, because in the weight room … it can get very busy in our peak hours. We wanted to really think about the skill and comfort level of the individuals coming in.”

Kudika also explained that the decision was further influenced by feedback from surveys filled by student users. 

“We’ve always had a pretty robust surveying process, whether that be for somebody who just utilizes the facility as well as somebody who is engaged in some kind of programming, whether that be [a] stop-in event or something that is long-term, and we’re always asking kind of an open-ended question on what are the types of things that you would like to see in the space,” Kudika said. “So a little combination of some of that student feedback as well as current trends are some of the things that we used to make our decision on both layout and the equipment picked.”

According to Kudika, the goal of the renovation was to make the space more functional for student use while ensuring the space is still accessible for multiple people to work together.

Kudika further explained the process of choosing companies that would be best suited to carry out the different aspects of the renovation.

“This is … a good year of having companies come out, meet with us, tour the space … see what they would have to offer [and] combine that with what we would like [to have in the space],” Kudika said. 

“We’d asked all the companies to basically do like a floor plan layout — ‘What would you do based off of our wants and our need[s]?’ … So we, you know,  after a lot of checks and balances with the university and with our group, we selected flooring and then a number of equipment companies,” Kudika added.

As mentioned previously, renovations to the space include new flooring, equipment and efforts to make the space more user-friendly.

“We’ve got around an 18,000 square foot space that we have redone the floor for. There is a new functional training space,” Kudika said. “We had a piece of equipment there in the past, [but] it was a much larger footprint. We’re able to store more items on a smaller footprint for that space … there is all new equipment in that space.” 

“But the big thing is we have a rack system that allows multiple users to use the space together with inlaid platforms,” Kudika continued. “The inlaid part means that somebody could drop the bar anywhere and it [would not] damage anything.”

Marcus Breed, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, has been using the facility for well over a year and noted the addition of multi-purpose racks. 

“I do really like that [they have] got all these new racks here. So they used to have the squat racks just along the walls [and] all the benches and equipment in the middle … now it’s kind of multipurpose racks, so you can kind of do any barbell, compound lift … in this center area and there’s a lot more slots for it … you’re not as condensed, not as clogged I guess, so more people are able to do more,” Breed said.

On the other hand, first-year biology major Analise Caudle has only been using the facility for a couple of weeks, but expressed a positive opinion of the weight room.

“I do really like how spacious [the facility] is. I don’t feel like I’m around everybody while I’m working out. I can kind of be in my own world more, and I do like all the racks that we have here. I can never have trouble finding one,” Caudle said.

However, senior Jasman Sidhu remarked that the old setup was better. Despite that, Sidhu also expressed that the facility was unlike any other facilities in San Antonio.

“You know, I really liked the old set up. I don’t like having all this extra stuff, where … it can be like a squat rack and a bench press,” Sidhu said. “I’d rather it be like this, where it was just a bench press, and the squat racks were where the squat racks were. So I don’t like this, cause it’s a lot of extra stuff that you have to move around if you’re trying to switch from squatting to bench and [vice versa].”

According to Executive Director Laura Munroe, all new equipment for the space was funded by the center’s savings account.

“Every piece of equipment that we own, we have a depreciation plan … some of our equipment was from 2003 and 2007, so, [it has] well outlived its lifespan. In that depreciation plan, we put money … we call it [a] savings account or our reserve. We put money away so that we could do this renovation. And so, that came out of our reserve and was approved by the provost, Dr. Espy, and LT Robinson, to do this renovation,” Munroe said.

Munroe further explained that the plan to renovate the weight room was initiated at the beginning of 2020, and was put on hold due to the pandemic. 

“We actually had planned on doing [the renovation] the summer of the pandemic. And so, we had started the planning [in] January/February of 2020 and then we stopped [because of the pandemic]. We picked it back up once student life returned to normal in the fall,” Munroe explained.

More information about Campus Recreation, including operational times, services offered, etc., can be found on their official website.