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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Review/ Reaction: If you can dodge a wrench, you’ll love the new Rec”

Columnist Dan Sotelo offers a description and consideration of the brand spankin’ new Rec Center. Sorry, Average Joe’s – if the UA was the movie Dodgeball, then the Globo Gym Purple Cobras win this tournament in a landslide.



If the new Student Recreation Center expansion is Globo Gym, then the old Rec center is a sad, hollowed out Average Joe’s. In fact, a more accurate comparison would deem the old facilities to be significantly below, if not failing, Average Joe’s.

The first night it opened, the Rec Center was deceptively clear. Viewed from the outside, the entrance was dimly lit and looked like it might be closed. There is still cardio equipment in the initial foray and the racquetball courts are still standing, but the old sections of the Rec Center feel eerily empty.

Walking past the basketball courts, one begins the journey into the future. There are padded seats and two TVs, possibly for hanging out and catching up on sports, but the real purpose was not immediately clear. It later became evident that the lounge was an area for shocked patrons to fall back into and catch their breath, because they will be weak-kneed in awe at the new and improved Rec Center.

Students who are new to the UA or exercising will surely be impressed by the first view of the weight room, but no one can appreciate the expanded facilities more than students who trudged around the old weight room. If students familiar with the old weight room could pinpoint the biggest flaw, it would undoubtedly be lack of space. What the old facility lacked is abundantly made up for in the new facility.

The entire space of the weight room is grand, to say the least, but there is also significant space in between weight machines and benches. Unlike the old weight room, those lifting weights won’t have to pause in between reps to let someone squeeze by or get to the drinking fountain. People can stand up in between sets to stretch without interfering with someone else or causing a logjam near machines.

It wouldn’t make sense to fill up all that space with old, unreliable equipment. Much of the old equipment either needed constant maintenance or operated at a suboptimal level, which is why there are brand new machines to provide a safe, effective workout. The increased number and quality of equipment, in addition to the vast space, make the weight room much more desirable and accommodating for everyone.

Have you ever wanted to get in a quick workout but didn’t want to miss the newest episode of your favorite television show? Don’t worry, that’s a choice that won’t have to be made again.

The majority of cardio machines in the expanded weight room come equipped with a cardio theater, a personal television screen with independent channel navigation for every machine. Nothing says dedication to fitness like a few miles on the treadmill while watching “”The Biggest Loser.””



The Student Recreation Center expansion is nothing short of amazing and may well exceed that description as hindsight takes effect. The architecture, equipment and overall facilities are top of the line, which can provide benefits on multiple levels. Those already in workout routines can have a much more effective, enjoyable experience at the expanded Rec Center. Even more important, those hoping to get fit or begin an exercise routine will find a plethora of choices to not only get healthier but to have fun doing so. The expansion offers a new type of experience to anyone who may have been intimidated by the cramped, cold environment of the old Rec Center.

The true “”piece de résistance”” is the gorgeous quad complete with sand volleyball and bouldering pit. There’s a lush, if not large, lawn on which people can relax. The architecture will undoubtedly provide varying degrees of shade at different times of the day, so students just wanting to enjoy a nice day can find a great spot to read a book or catch a nap.

The inviting nature of the quad will help those looking to find a game of volleyball at one of the two sand volleyball courts. The term “”sand volleyball court”” has been used ambiguously, especially when describing the “”sand, stick and rock volleyball court”” outside of the Arizona-Sonora residence hall. These new courts are covered in soft sand and come with heavy-duty padded nets, so diehard volleyball players can dive for saves without fear.

The bouldering pit will provide a new outlet for experienced climbers or those looking for a fun, challenging sport. It remains to be seen how popular this feature will become, which could result in high traffic and deter new climbers.

This next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the $25-per-semester fee that students have been paying to support the expansion, which will last until at least 2035. In 20 years, the facility will undoubtedly be less cutting edge, but it will arguably never approach the level of the former Rec Center. There are certainly students, both past and present, who may have no interest in the new building, let alone paying for it. Any student reading about the expansion who feels no interest at all should dare him or herself to spend at least an hour at the new expansion. The cardio theaters, no matter how superfluous they appear, can actually attract new patrons. Instead of sitting on a couch watching TV, people can head down to the Rec Center and get 30 minutes of cardio while catching up on politics, news or the latest game.

For all its spectacular features, the justification and success of the new Student Rec Center expansion hinges on the response of students and other patrons. A giant weight room will appear bare if attendance doesn’t increase substantially, and all those new TVs will play to empty exercise machines.

The most likely result will be the unadulterated praise of and clamor to get into the expansion. As with any fitness facility, there is a core population that will go and work out no matter what, evidenced by the crowded nature of the old weight room. The greatest feature of the new Rec Center is the inclusion of equipment and facilities for any workout interest. The overall quality of the expansion will serve to attract and retain more students than the old center could have, no matter how many lines were formed.

Unlike movie endings, there is no underdog victory for Average Joe’s. Globo Gym wins in first round shutout. “”You’re going down, La Fleur! You’re going down like a sweet muffin!””

— Dan Sotelo is a political science senior. He can be contacted in the weight room of Globo Gym and at

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