New Athletic and Recreation Center Exceeds Students’ Expectations The new Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center has more than met the expectation of students who eagerly awaited its opening.
“The new facility is truly state-of-the art.”
~ Vivian Barker ’22
Construction of the Richard L. Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center began in summer 2018, just weeks before Vivian Barker ’22, Alex Andros ’22 and Seren McClain ’22 began their first year at W&L. Since then, these W&L juniors have eagerly awaited its opening. They have found the new facility they came back to this fall has more than met their expectations.
“The new facility is truly state-of-the art,” said Barker, a long sprinter on the women’s track and field team. “The new treadmills and cardio equipment in the Fitness Center are cutting-edge, and the additional weight racks allow for anyone to get a great workout in, regardless if you are an athlete or not. There are so many options to perform different exercises with machines, free weights, cardio, rowers, squats racks, benches, TRX ropes and cable stations.”
The entire project encompassed 165,489 square feet and captured more than 10,700 square feet of assignable space for new athletic and recreation programs. The facility increased from two to three gyms, including one devoted solely to intramural and recreational use. The project increased the square footage of the Fitness Center by a third and allowed the racquetball and squash courts to become regulation size, while doubling the scope of the athletic training facilities.
Other key features of the facility include greater handicap accessibility, a showcase for the Athletic Hall of Fame, an increase in locker room amenities and features, expanded golf practice facilities, expanded multi-purpose facilities for group exercise, and improved offices for coaches and athletics staff.
While some of the new features of the facility aren’t yet accessible due to COVID-19, the Fitness Center is open for use by appointment and traffic is steady throughout the day.
For Andros, a member of the varsity football team and a member of the Fitness Center staff, the weight room is his favorite aspect of the new facility.
“In the past, the space felt very crammed and I was always waiting for a free squat rack,” he said. “Now the layout makes it feel twice as big and the quality of the new equipment is such an upgrade. New squat racks, treadmills and other equipment allow you to get much more creative when choosing what exercises to do, and that in turn causes you to have much better workouts.”
Like Andros, McClain works in the Fitness Center. He doesn’t play a varsity sport, but he does enjoy working out frequently and finds the new facility more spacious, better organized and more modern.
“For students who are willing to make appointments and exercise in masks, the Fitness Center serves as a place to release stress and maintain physical fitness,” said McClain. “Maintaining mental and physical health can be difficult right now, so I’m happy the Fitness Center is open.”
Barker couldn’t agree more.
“The Fitness Center has done an amazing job of keeping everyone safe and providing a healthy outlet for students to relieve stress during this unusual time,” she said. “Exercise is essential for physical health and mental well-being, especially in the midst of a pandemic. The Fitness Center supports its students by allowing them to achieve their goals, physically and mentally, through exercise.”