Thursday, Feb 11, 2021
The Schimek Family Fitness Center receives new paint, carpets, sport flooring and lighting
by Adam Grybowski
Taking advantage of a unique period of reduced use due to the pandemic, Rider recently made a series of upgrades to the Schimek Family Fitness Center. Those who use the facility will benefit from new carpets and sport flooring, new lighting, and new paint that reflects the University’s brand.
"The space is so much brighter and feels airy, crisp and clean," says Brett Ashley Davis, the fitness manager of Rider’s Student Recreation Center, the larger facility that houses the Schimek Family Fitness Center.
The upgrades have long been on the minds of administrators as a way to improve the experience of students, faculty, staff and other individuals who use the recreational space. When the pandemic struck and set restrictions on the facility’s use, they saw an opportunity to complete the work.
“It got us thinking that now would be a good time to try and make something positive out of the situation,” Davis says. “It would have been difficult to take the fitness center offline in a typical scenario.”
Last fall, Rider essentially picked up and moved the fitness center outside, relocating many of the machines and free weights under a tent. Called the Bronc Barn, it gave members the option to continue exercising as individuals and through group classes while following safety protocols. It also emptied out the space inside.
“Students and faculty were appreciative that we had something available for them outside,” Davis says, “and we were grateful to have the time to complete the work inside and not be rushed.”
With the Bronc Barn now closed because of the cold and the work inside complete, only about half of the equipment is back in the fitness center. Of its 27 pieces of cardio equipment, 12 can fit inside the center and still meet current social-distancing requirements. The rest are dispersed along the perimeter of the nearby Student Recreation Center indoor courts. After the machines were moved back inside, an outside company recalibrated all of the equipment, checked each piece for safety and performed a full preventative maintenance service.
While Davis and the rest of her staff look forward to a time when it is possible to open the fitness center to more members, one of their main focuses continues to be fulfilling the enhanced cleaning protocols that keep members healthy and safe.
Multiple sanitization stations and hand sanitizer dispensers have been added in the Student Recreation Center, and an outside firm visits throughout the day to provide enhanced sanitization and cleaning. The HVAC system was also replaced to improve air quality.
“Cleanliness has always been our focus but it's extremely important now,” Davis says, “and I have to thank my student staff for being extremely diligent in disinfecting and cleaning the facility.”