Celebrating its one-year anniversary on Aug. 14, the Health Sciences Campus (HSC) Fitness Center treated faculty, staff and students to an open house featuring activities, prizes, cake and special exercise classes.
“The event gives us an opportunity to showcase what we have to offer and allows people to come and enjoy the facility and the space when maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Justine Gilman, senior director of Recreational Sports.
In the courtyard outside the 2001 Soto Street Building where the fitness center is located, visitors participated in activities, such as a Frisbee toss, basketball free throws, a health and fitness trivia challenge, jump roping and a guess-the-marbles-in-the-jar contest. The first 50 people to complete their challenges won free smoothies from Seeds Café, which opened in the building in September 2011.
Pam Townsend, a project specialist in the Department of Preventive Medicine, has been a member of the fitness center since it opened. “They have extended the hours, which are really great,” she said after flinging a Frisbee into a ring. “There is no excuse not to work out here. It is fabulous.”
Approximately 350 students a day use the facility, according to Arvin Varma, director of the HSC Fitness Center and associate director of Recreational Sports. Student feedback, he said, has been very positive.
“Students are appreciative that we have a fitness center here for them to work out,” Varma said. Paid memberships include more than 600. Students work out for free.
The 10,000-square-foot HSC Fitness Center offers a variety of cardiovascular and strength-training equipment; two group exercise rooms featuring spinning, zumba and turbo-boxing classes; locker rooms and day-use lockers. Jump ropes, yoga mats, weight belts, basketballs and hair dryers are available for check out. A lighted basketball court and multipurpose area are adjacent to the center.
Varma is working on creating more programs for the HSC fitness crowd, including interdepartmental fitness contests or competitions among the medical students. Currently there are monthly three-point shootouts and plans for a Turkey Trot the Monday before Thanksgiving.
“The center has allowed people to form a community,” Gilman said.
Martha Amador, concierge for Recreational Sports, has seen many changes since the day she started working at the building, which was also the date of the HSC Fitness Center opening.
“I saw all the different departments move in, so it is exciting to see the one-year anniversary,” said Amador, who does marketing and promotions for the center and was in charge of the celebratory cake cutting. “From its opening, the fitness center has grown so much and gained so many members. And it is really great to have new classes.”
Transportation has made it easier to reach the center by offering a “Soto Street Shuttle” that leaves the Soto lot every six to 12 minutes. For more information, contact the HSC Fitness Center at (213) 442-7210 or Recreational Sports at (213) 740-5127.