Established in 1998, the UTSA Campus Recreation Department provides enrolled students with various facilities and amenities. Its goal is to provide “inclusive facilities and programs that enhance the experiences and well-being of our diverse community.”
“We are primarily here to serve students and provide them with exceptional facilities [and] programs,” Andrew Chadick, senior deputy director of programming and evaluation at Campus Recreation, said.
Recently, the Rec weight room underwent a renovation following deliberation by the management team.
Steve Kudika, assistant director of fitness and wellness at Campus Recreation, explained the thought process that went into the decision to renovate the weight room.
“The new part of our building was completed in 2007, and a lot of the equipment was… older equipment. So we saw a few things [that were needed]. First, the life of the floor was exceeded, as well as that of some equipment, [we were] looking to update some of this stuff… a couple of years ago [of] other goals [when] we were looking back through space,” Kudika said. “The first is that we can provide a… safe and friendly space with [a] large number of participants, because in the weight room … it can be very busy during our peak hours. We really wanted to think about the skills and comfort level of people coming in.
Kudika also explained that the decision was further influenced by feedback from surveys completed by student users.
“We’ve always had a pretty robust investigation process, whether it’s someone who’s just using the facility as well as someone who’s engaged in some sort of program, whether it’s [a] one-time event or something that’s long-term, and we’re always asking kind of an open-ended question about the types of things you’d like to see in space,” Kudika said. “So a little combination of some of the student feedback as well as current trends are some of the things we used to make our decision on both the layout and the equipment chosen.”
According to Kudika, the goal of the renovation was to make the space more functional for students while ensuring the space was still accessible for multiple people to work together.
Kudika then explained the process of selecting the best-suited companies to carry out the different aspects of the renovation.
“It’s…a good year for companies to come out, meet us, visit space…see what they would have to offer [and] combine that with what we would like [to have in the space]“said Kudika.
“We had asked all companies to do basically like a floor plan layout – ‘What would you do based on our wants and needs?[s]?’ … So, you know, after a lot of checks and balances with the university and with our group, we selected flooring and then a number of equipment companies,” Kudika added.
As mentioned earlier, space renovations include new flooring, equipment, and efforts to make the space more user-friendly.
“We have a space of approximately 18,000 square feet which we have redone. There is a new functional training space,” Kudika said. “We had a piece of equipment there in the past, [but] it was a much larger footprint. We are able to store more items on a smaller footprint for this space…there is all new equipment in this space.
“But most importantly, we have a rack system that allows multiple users to utilize the space with inlay platforms,” Kudika continued. “The inlaid part means someone could drop the bar anywhere and it [would not] damage anything.
Marcus Breed, a second-year mechanical engineering student, has been using the facility for over a year and noted the addition of multi-purpose racks.
“I really like it [they have] got all these new racks here. So they used to have the squat racks right along the walls [and] all the benches and equipment in the middle…now it’s kind of all-purpose racks so you can do any dumbbell, compound lift…in that middle area and there’s a lot more slots for that…you’re not not as condensed, not as stuffy, I guess, so more people can do more,” Breed said.
On the other hand, Analise Caudle, a first-year biology major, has only been using the facility for a few weeks, but expressed a positive opinion of the weight room.
“I really like the size [the facility] is. I don’t feel like I’m with everyone while I train. I can kind of be more in my own world, and I love all the racks we have here. I could never have trouble finding one,” Caudle said.
However, senior Jasman Sidhu commented that the old setup was better. Despite this, Sidhu also said the facility was unlike any other facility in San Antonio.
“You know, I really liked the old setup. I don’t like having all this extra stuff, where…it can be like a squat rack and a bench press,” Sidhu said. either like that, where it was just a bench press, and the squat racks were where the squat racks were. So I don’t like that, because that’s a lot of extra stuff you have to move if you’re trying to go from squat to bench and [vice versa].”
According to executive director Laura Munroe, any new equipment for the space was funded from the center’s savings account.
“Every piece of equipment we own, we have a depreciation plan…some of our equipment was from 2003 and 2007, so, [it has] survived its lifespan well. In this amortization schedule, we put money…we call it [a] savings account or our reserve. We have put money aside to be able to do this renovation. And so, that came out of our reserve and was approved by the provost, Dr. Espy, and LT Robinson, to do this renovation,” Munroe said.
Munroe further explained that the weight room renovation plan was launched in early 2020 and was put on hold due to the pandemic.
“In fact, we had planned to do [the renovation] pandemic summer. And so, we had started the planning [in] January/February 2020 then we stopped [because of the pandemic]. We took it back once student life returned to normal in the fall,” Munroe explained.
More information on campus recreation, including hours of operation, services offered, etc., can be found on their official website. website.