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Improved Wellness Center unveiled

Courtesy University of Miami Wellness Center

The wait is finally over. After nearly a year of construction, UM students, faculty and alumni will get their first look at the Wellness Center’s newly expanded fitness center this afternoon.

Yorence Ramiz, a junior who regularly visits the Wellness Center, is one of thousands of patrons looking forward to working out in the state-of-the-art facility. For the past five months, the project moved everyone into an auxiliary gym crammed with equipment and weights.

“Two things excite me about the expansion,” he said. “The first is all of the new and awesome amenities we can look forward to and the other is that all the inconveniences of construction will be over.”

When the Wellness Center reveals its additions at 4 p.m., Ramiz and many others will finally see the 6,800 sq. feet that have been added to the fitness room, doubling its floorspace.

With the extra space, the center has doubled the number of cardio machines, including new treadmills and elliptical machines from Precor. There will also be 20 flat-panel televisions around the room to enjoy while using the new machines. New free weights from Hammer Strength are also being added, as well as new selectorized weight equipment from Cybex.

“We sold 90 percent of the old equipment,” said Norm Parsons, the director of the Wellness Center.

On the new second floor there is a Pilates studio with five reformer machines and two new multipurpose rooms, giving the Wellness Center a total of four.

There will also be a new cycling studio, freeing up space in the Wellness Enrichment Suite for a relaxation room. Inside the new cycling room will be a six-foot video wall displaying scenes from several different countries.

“It’s like you’re riding all over the world,” Parsons said.

According to Parsons, the total cost of the expansion was around $5 million, including about half a million for new equipment. The project was funded by a gift from alumni Patti and Allan Herbert, the patrons of the center, as well as by Wellness Center reserves and some borrowed money,.

With all this new space, the gym will no longer be as crowded as it was before. The fitness room will now have a capacity of 300, doubling the previous figure of approximately 150. They’re also adding another student employee per shift for afternoons and evenings to deal with the increase in space.

Staff hope the expansion will make the center a more comfortable place to get in shape, allowing more people to visit and start bettering their lives.

“You set the foundation for your education at the university,” Parsons said. “But you can set the foundation for your life at the Wellness Center.”

Prior to the renovations, the waiting times for some of the most popular fitness pieces were at times discouragingly long.

Tony Musto, associate director of fitness programs, is excited about the new program opportunities that the expansion will give him.

“I would recommend that students come to the grand opening,” Musto said. “We will have people staffed in all the areas and they can give students some explanation on the new equipment.”

Parsons plans to be there wearing his workout clothes.

“We encourage folks to come in and enjoy the new space,” he said. “Come prepared to work out!”

Andres Correa may be contacted at acorrea@themiamihurricane.com.


INFO BOX

420,000 sq. feet of added space

4Number of treadmills and elliptical machines doubled (24 each)

4Number of cycling machines increased to 33

February 23, 2011

Reporters

Andres Correa

Contributing News Writer


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