Syracuse University to add recreation facilities in Marshall Square Mall and residence hall
Syracuse University to add recreation facilities in Marshall Square Mall and residence hallApril 30, 2007Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
Syracuse University will open two new facilities operated by the Department of Recreation Services, adding more than 14,000 square feet of recreation space to benefit students. In August 2007, a 3,700-square-foot fitness center will open in Marshall Square Mall, adjacent to campus; in August 2009, a new residence hall at 619 Comstock Ave. will open and include 10,600 square feet of new recreation space. SU will also operate its existing facility in Marion Hall for an additional 12 hours per week, starting this fall.
“Syracuse University takes students’ expectations regarding wellness and healthy lifestyles very seriously, and we have a responsibility to support our students’ physical and mental well-being,” says Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “To meet these responsibilities as we move into the future, and to overcome the challenges of aging or space-limited facilities, we must engage in creative solutions such as the use of strategic locations around campus as well as smart mixes of residential and recreational space.”
The new facilities represent the University’s deployment of a concept known as “distributed recreation facilities,” in which students utilize a number of smaller facilities spread out on and next to campus, instead of going only to a centralized facility. Combined with existing regional recreation facilities in Brockway Hall, the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Student Center and Marion Hall — as well as large-scale and outdoor facilities including Archbold and Flanagan Gymnasiums, the Women’s Building, the Hookway Tract, the Marilyn and Bill Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion, Skytop Fields and Hendricks Field — the new distributed facilities will provide close, convenient recreation opportunities for a larger number of
University users. The approach also allows the University to quickly add to its existing stock of 140,186 square feet of indoor recreation space.
The Marshall Square Mall location was chosen to be convenient for students traveling between campus and nearby residences, job sites and other venues, and to allow sufficient space for state-of-the-art exercise machinery. It will be equipped with 44 fitness machines, including circuit-training and cardiovascular equipment, along with three private, individual-occupancy, unisex changing rooms, each with its own shower. The facility has been designed to be accessible to people with disabilities, based on input from the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee. Renovation of the space is slated to begin in early June.
The facility at 619 Comstock Ave., in the planned residence hall, will have 8,600 square feet devoted to a variety of exercise equipment. About 75 percent of this will be cardiovascular or circuit-training machinery, with the remainder consisting of free weights, barbells and similar strength-training equipment. Another 2,000 square feet will consist of low-ceiling, multipurpose space, which can be used for dance, club sport practices, fitness classes or open recreation.
The new facilities will be open to students, faculty, staff and alumni; hours of operation and other details will be announced by the Department of Recreation Services in advance of opening.
The new spaces are among the results of an exhaustive study of SU’s recreation resources and the University community’s needs and expectations. Conducted by the Division of Student Affairs and leading, national recreation facilities consultant Brailsford & Dunlavey, the process has included surveys of students, focus groups, and site visits to recently built facilities at other institutions.
“We have found that for the vast majority of our students, fitness and recreation are key parts of the educational experience. National research has shown a connection between physical activity and academic success, and our students clearly get the connection — more than 90 percent of the students we have surveyed say they use our recreation facilities, and most users surveyed say they need better access to these resources,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “By adding new facilities with state-of-the-art fitness equipment in strategic locations, we intend to gradually improve the quality of the student life experience at SU.”