Revamped gym opens today

20130910new gym (Tyler Brown) Students stand on the suspended track looking over the new arena
(Photo By: Tyler Brown) Students stand on the new arena expansion track

The Wildcat Center for Health, Education and Wellness, also known as the Stromberg Complex/Swenson Gym, is opening after a six-month, 20,000-square-foot renovation and addition.

Weber State University’s new arena has been designed to house multiple academic departments and provide space for track sports, club activities and student/faculty exercising needs. With the growth of WSU, the previous arena was prone to crowding, and drop-in students would have to wait to use machines or weights.

“The gym is shared by a lot of entities,” said Lisa Pedersen, facility coordinator of the Stromberg Complex. “The gym is used by athletics, track, the spirit squad and the softball team. Then you have Campus Recreation that used it for intramural sports. This made the gym very busy.”

Having so many people and organizations became an issue with athletic classes and drop-in students.

“Any time there was a class, our faculty would shut down pieces of equipment,” said Teri Bladen, director for Campus Recreation.

Former student body president Vicky Thompson and vice president Kyle Braithwaite began planning the upgrade two years ago. Thompson and Braithwaite also decided that, along with the needed space and upgrades, WSU students needed a place to relax.  

A three-lane suspended track has been added, along with a sky bridge that will allow students to walk across the arena without interrupting those wishing to work out.

There were also safety concerns with students walking across the track. This is an issue when the track team uses the facility.

“With the size of the arena, you would get a track athlete barreling around the corner and a recreational weight-lifter walking across the track,” Bladen said.

The major addition to the center is the lobby. The lobby will now house the Campus Recreation Office as well as second workout facility with new workout equipment and two drop-in rooms. The workout equipment is situated so that there is a view of the Ogden Valley.

“They are creating space on the second level with a vast expanse of windows so that there is a beautiful view of the mountains,” Pedersen said.

This will also help to give Campus Recreation a home. Campus Recreation has been housed throughout the Stromberg Complex and Swenson Gym in the past.

“Campus Recreation has been organized haphazardly, and this allowed for the Campus Recreation Office to be more centralized,” Pedersen said.

Campus Recreation will all be in one place to conduct meetings and other planning. “This gives the Campus Recreation an identity,” Bladen said.

The addition will also include a lounge and gaming, which the students can use to relax.

Haley Evans, a current student at WSU, said she was mostly looking forward to socializing with friends and the relaxation benefits.

“The benefits are that we now have this expansion for drop-in recreational use,” Bladen said. “People can come and do their strength training, their cardio; they can group exercise, they can come whenever the building is open and they will never get displaced.”

Evans said she believes students and faculty are excited for the new gym to be open.

“I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like, and the environment,” she said.

There will also be new locker rooms on the second floor as well as bike lockers for students. Admission to the arena is free of charge for WSU students who show their identification. Students can find hours of operation on the WSU website’s Campus Recreation page. The official ribbon-cutting for the center will be Sept. 25, with refreshments and tours of the new facility.