The new Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well Being has been in progress since the groundbreaking ceremony held on February 2. According to President Carl J. Strikwerda, the new addition will be “the largest facility to be constructed on our campus since Leffler Chapel and Performance Center was added over 20 years ago.”
The new building is being built with the idea that it is for “every student, every day.” With the idea of the new edition to the college, Madeline Bender, who is a first-year student, commented on her views. She admitted she did not know much about the facility before the groundbreaking ceremony. She thinks it is a great idea because the current fitness center, the Body Shop, can become a little cramped, preventing her from going. “I think it will also be very valuable to all the athletic teams we have on campus,” Madeline said. She thinks she will use the facility once it is completed.
Dante Allen, a junior, will have graduated when the building is complete. He believes it is a waste of money and will not be a good addition. He explains that since Etown is not a Division 1 school, the money should be put towards academics. “I think the students are looking forward to it foolishly, but I would like to believe the faculty sees the problems with the new structure,” Dante said. He does not currently use the Body Shop and said that he would not use the building given the opportunity.
Dr. Kirsten Johnson, professor of communications, hopes that the new fitness center will be a critical focal point to possible incoming students. Johnson currently uses the Body Shop but is not happy with the facility. “I’m excited for it to open, to be able to use a state of the art facility that’s less dingy,” Johnson said. She feels the new facility will give her more opportunities to workout since the Body Shop is usually overcrowded.
In the email sent to the students by Strikwerda, the building will be, in total, 78,000 square feet. There will be room for the wellness and athletic programs that can use the new group fitness studios, wellness classrooms, spin studios, training treatment areas, and office spaces. There will also be a demonstration kitchen that can be used for health programs or courses.
For the athletic teams, there
will be six team locker rooms, three courts and a 180-meter track. There will be no competitions held since the track is not to regulation. Instead, the building will be used for practice, strength and conditioning. “The price tag went up millions when we looked into expanding the track,” said Johnson.
The new building will not only be a fitness center but will also have a café and smoothie bar to offer healthier snacks to students. Hopefully, students will be attracted to the relaxing fire place located in the new living room. There will also be a fire pit outside.