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New fitness center to open on the Hill in fall 2015

(Courtesy of UCLA Housing)

By Tyson Ni

March 10, 2014 1:07 a.m.

A fitness center about as large as the training facility at the John Wooden Center will open on the Hill during fall quarter of 2015.

The 14,000 square-foot fitness center, which will be located on the ground floor of Carnesale Commons, will have an industrial look and will only be open to undergraduate students, said Mick Deluca, executive director of recreation and campus life at UCLA Recreation. A maintenance shop currently occupies the space where the fitness center will be constructed.

The fitness center will include equipment for strength and aerobic training, similar to the equipment in the strength and conditioning zone at the Wooden Center. It will almost double the square footage taken up by exercise equipment that UCLA currently provides, Deluca said.

While the Wooden Center is open to the public, the new fitness center will be open only to undergraduate students and housing staff. Once officials gain a better understanding of its usage, they may grant other groups access.

The interior, built with concrete and exposed ceilings, is aimed at giving the new fitness center an industrial and “chic” look, Deluca said.

Officials plan to build the fitness center with money from housing reserves without increasing the $51 students currently pay to access the Wooden Center. The project is currently estimated at about $5 million, said Peter Angelis, associate vice chancellor for UCLA Housing Services.

The construction of the fitness center is part of the Northwest Housing Infill Project, which is funded by a 2 percent increase in housing and dining fees that was implemented earlier this year, Angelis said.

Deluca said Hill officials have been trying to accommodate the student demand for fitness equipment in recent years as the campus becomes more residential.

Originally, officials planned to open a smaller fitness center that would be about one-fourth as large as the current design. But they wanted to take advantage of the space as much as possible and they had the financial means to do so, Deluca said.

Deluca said he hopes the new fitness center can alleviate the high traffic at the Wooden Center.

The Wooden Center experienced its busiest quarter this winter with about 6,000 people using the facilities at the gym on campus each weekday, Deluca said.

Officials asked for student input through focus groups, fitness staff and the student members on the John Wooden Center Board of Governors. Deluca said he wants to work with students in the coming months on equipment selection and hours of operation through demo days and other initiatives.

There is currently exercise equipment in some residential buildings. But consolidating the machines into one fitness center will allow the other spaces in the residential halls to be turned into study and social spaces, Deluca said.

Some students said they envision less wait time at the Wooden Center once the new fitness center opens, and they appreciate that it is on the Hill.

Miguel Cuevas, a student supervisor at the Wooden Center and a second-year biology student, said he sees hundreds of people using exercise equipment during the gym’s peak hours.

“I can see that more students will go to the new place than here because it’s more convenient,” Cuevas said

Other campuses within the University of California, including UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC Riverside, have similar plans to expand gym facilities, Deluca said.

The construction on the new fitness center will start at the beginning of fall quarter and is expected to take about a year.

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