New facility brings Stair Master, fitness room to rec pass carriers

Photo+by+Lindsey+Eaton%3A+Students+use+newly+acquired+cardio+exercise+equipment+at+the+Wildcat+Fit+Zone%2C+an+extension+of+the+PEIF+into+the+housing+and+residence+life+part+of+campus.+The+Fit+Zone+will+host+a+grand+opening+at+the+end+of+October.+

Photo by Lindsey Eaton: Students use newly acquired cardio exercise equipment at the Wildcat Fit Zone, an extension of the PEIF into the housing and residence life part of campus. The Fit Zone will host a grand opening at the end of October.

Von Lanier

Another recreation center, serving as an extension of the Physical Education Instruction Facility (PEIF), is now available on campus for students who opted for a PEIF pass this semester.

The Wildcat Fit Zone is located on campus between the Hunt/Van Antwerp and Magers/Meyland residence halls. It now occupies the roughly 10,500 square feet of facility space between the two housing structures. The new facility has hand weights ranging from 5 pounds to 50, a cable cross, plyometric equipment, 15 cardio pieces, which include treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals, a newly acquired Stair Climber, as well as a fitness studio.

“For all 15 years that I’ve been here at Northern, the students on campus have always complained about having to walk to the PEIF to work out and we couldn’t sell them on the fact that it was their warm up and their cool down after their workout,” Tricia Bush, associate director of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports, said. “This has been something we’ve wanted to do for a long time and it just so happened with the passing of the student rec fee going into tuition and fees last summer, that the money was then there that we could start taking from to build a new extension of the PEIF.

“It is for students only, whereas the PEIF rec center is for students faculty staff and community.”

Bush noted the facility’s exclusive availability to students is the result of money from the student rec fee, which is added to tuition if students don’t choose to opt out.

“The project dollar amount was $500,000, and we’re taking $100,000 from the student rec fee for five years,” Bush said. “The $500,000 was spent this year to build it but it’s getting paid for over the next five years.”

Because the space for the Fit Zone is extremely limited, Bush said there is not much more that can be added in terms of activities but the recreation department will potentially swap out pieces of exercise equipment over the years, depending on what is working and what isn’t.

Equipment was chosen for the facility based on the space that was available and following trends from other facilities in campus recreation, said Katie Moe, campus recreation and fitness manager of intercollegiate athletics and recreational sports. Moe was responsible for designing the Fit Zone and deciding what pieces of equipment to include.

“Some of the pieces that we have here, we don’t even have at the PEIF rec area,” Moe said.

Those pieces of equipment include the Stair Master and two adaptive motion trainers students can use for elliptical workouts. Moe said the new facility has helped create more space at the PEIF, where sometimes the weight equipment would have to be placed right next to the cardio equipment. She added this used to cause deterioration of the structure from the constant dropping of dumbbells.

“It’s not like the PEIF rec center weight room because we don’t have enough space for that,” Moe said.

She added students who prefer to just work specific body parts by lifting can essentially do so at the Fit Zone, using the cable cross instead of going to the weight room at the PEIF.

The Fit Zone, which has been open since Sept. 18, will be magaged soley by the recreational sports department. During the first week of operation, 543 people visited the Fit Zone with 144 people on just a single day. During the second week, there were 593 visitors, Moe said.

A grand opening of the facility planned will likely take place at the end of October, Bush said, adding, “We’re waiting on signage.”

The fitness studio is now available to rent and utilize for group fitness classes, like Zumba, or for NMU’s Hip Hop Dance Team. All students who purchased a student recreation pass are able to access and utilize the Wildcat Fit Zone as well as the PEIF Recreation Center during available times.

The Fit Zone is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The facility will never open on holidays or holiday breaks.

The Fit Zone is also fully staffed by NMU students. Recreation students pursuing an internship are encouraged to consider working at the Fit Zone, Bush said.

“Established during the Fall 2017 academic year, the Fit Zone was created to better serve the wellness needs of Northern Michigan University students who may be living on campus,” The NMU recreational sports website said. “This NMU-student-only recreation area allows those commuting to campus and living down campus the ability to “work out” between classes or attend a group fitness class when there is not extra time to get over to the much larger PEIF Recreation Center.”