Ashleigh Crouch, Correspondent
On Tuesday, January 14, the Jacksonville State University Recreation and Fitness Center celebrated its one-year in operation anniversary with a birthday party for the facility.
The 101,000-square-foot facility serves not only as a place to work out, but as a place where students can relax and relieve the pressure of school. The facility, which totaled $32 million dollars when finished, was funded by a Public-Private partnership between JSU Foundation and the university. It also creates over 150 student jobs, ranging from building supervisors to lifeguards to rock wall attendants and more.
“Students have taken full advantage of having this facility open on campus,” said Joanna Prociuk, the director of the facility. “[They] are working out and hanging out in it as designed.”
According to Prociuk, 6,375 unique students visited the facility in 2019, and in total it saw over 178,000 visits in its first year.
“It’s nice to be able to do homework and then take breaks by playing basketball,” said Marili Zurita, a sophomore at JSU. “Plus, if you need a drink or a snack, The Peak Café has you covered.”
The facility features a three-court gymnasium, an indoor and outdoor pool, a rock wall, two steam rooms, a gaming lounge and other amenities.
“I already love the rec center because I think it’s really cool that it has such a variety of activities for students to participate in,” said Chloe Mathews, a junior and transfer student at JSU.
The Rec Center is a regular hangout spot for many students, professors and alumni, who are eligible to purchase monthly memberships to use the facility and all of its amenities. The Rec Center also houses intramural sports and regularly hosts events for many organizations on campus.
The facility garnered heavy criticism from students because of the mandatory $190 Recreation and Fitness Center fee charged to all students’ accounts in the spring 2019 semester. Later, the fee was merged into the new “bundled” general university fee.
“In our second year of operation University Recreation plans to continue to build our program offerings, improve facility operations and marketing of programs/services, and continue to support JSU student life,” said Prociuk.