Returning to campus just got even more exciting as Eastern Michigan University plans to open all five levels of the newly renovated Olds-Robb Rec/IM building Aug. 30.
The recreation and intramural sports building has undergone a $16 million renovation that was completed in fall 2020, providing students with more open space, new equipment, and lounge areas to relax or study with friends.
As students return to campus, Rec/IM Director Justin Jett hopes they will take advantage of the modernized center as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mental health is one of the seven dimensions of wellness,” Jett said. “So hopefully, folks identify the rec center as a spot to calm and kind of de-stress and just practice some healthy lifestyle habits and take advantage of it once again.”
Before construction, students identified what they would like the renovation to focus on through a survey, Jett said.
As a result of the survey, the renovation included installing an air conditioning system, purchasing additional workout equipment, creating more multipurpose rooms, allowing for more natural light by exposing the windows on the north side of the building, and improving the functionality of the east and north entrances, Jett said.
The Rec/IM building is made up of five levels. Levels one and two went through complete renovations, while levels three, four, and five received lighter renovations due to budget restraints.
Level one, the main entrance, has been given a more open floor plan, allowing for a larger lounge consisting of a gaming area with pool tables, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, and an esports lounge area. On the same level, there are yoga and spinning multipurpose rooms, a small cross-functional private room, three racquetball courts, a combative arts room, and an office suite.
Level two is the fitness floor where members can find the Olympic area that consists of various plate loaded machines, as well as a full line of dumbbells ranging in size, Jett said. There is also cardio equipment facing the north windows and a new circuit of selectorized machinery.
“Almost substantially, everything on level two is new,” Jett said. “From free weights to cardio to selectorized equipment, the renovation really consisted of a new facelift, versatile equipment, and hopefully students will enjoy it.”
Level three is home to four basketball courts, totaling 7,222 square feet all together, Jett said. Outside of the basketball courts is a lounge area with new furniture that overlooks the east side of campus.
Level four has a four lane, one-ninths of a mile track that overlooks the basketball courts, Jett said. On the same floor, there is cardio equipment, televisions, and a full circuit of selectorized equipment.
The fifth level is a much smaller area that is available for student organizations or team meetings.
The 20 lane Jones pool in the building is currently closed due to flood damages that was reported over the summer, Jett said. The six lane Club pool is open and contains a sauna and hot tub.
Currently, there are no COVID restrictions in place at the Rec/IM building, Jett said. When the other three levels open, participants will be expected to engage in physical distancing as staff work to make safety a priority.
The building has been sprayed with a disinfectant called MicrobeCare that is projected to last three years, Jett said. There will also be staff on-site to clean throughout the day.
Visitors must go through a health screening process for each visit, documenting their symptoms and recent COVID exposure.
Those who wish to utilize the Rec/IM building must pay a fee of $50 per semester.
The Rec/IM building first opened in 1982 and has not received any major improvements until now, officials said. EMU students approved the renovation in 2017 and agreed that the project was to be funded through student fees.
To learn more about the Rec/IM center and to find information about the in-person and virtual fitness classes they offer, please visit https://www.emich.edu/recim/.
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