Attendance has declined at the Fresno State Student Recreation Center (REC) since the facility reopened in August 2021.
“Before the pandemic, a rough estimate of the average number of students using the leisure center was 900 to 1,000 students per day, and now it is [averaging] 600,” said Micolette Peña, operations supervisor at the REC Center.
Since Monday, masks are no longer mandatory at the REC Center. Disinfection stations and disinfectant sprays are available at each level of the center in different areas. Staff members have also encouraged students to clean the machines after their practice sessions, and masks are available at reception.
Every night when the REC Center closes, employees perform a deep cleaning of all machinery, according to Peña.
She said the REC Center offers more than “just fitness equipment.”
“When people think of a gym, some people are intimidated, but there are other activities available,” Peña said.
The REC center offers a variety of fitness classes including racquetball, ping pong, cornhole, pickleball and badminton. Four courts are available for basketball, volleyball and badminton. Locker rooms are available to students to secure their belongings.
It also offers intramural sports allowing students to play on a recreational team with their classmates.
Sport swimming is also offered at the Fresno State Aquatics Center.
Due to COVID-19 safety procedures, some of these activities are modified and limited for social distancing.
“I’ve been coming to the REC Center since the first day of school,” said 18-year-old freshman Luke Flores.
Flores said he enjoys playing basketball with his friends between classes and running on the treadmill. Being vaccinated and seeing students wearing their masks made him feel comfortable and safe at the REC center.
Basketball activities had been suspended in 2021, but since Monday, basketball activities have resumed.
Flores said he played basketball at Melody Park instead.
“I recommend everyone to come to the REC Center if you are a student because it is so useful and a great tool to take advantage of,” Flores said. “I hope when COVID-19 gets better, I can join a basketball league in intramural sports.”
“A good idea for the recreation center to attract more students would be to extend their hours as some students have work or stay late after studying at the library,” said Jenny Mao, 26, who is returning to campus. for his graduate studies in the fall. after taking a break this semester
The REC Center is open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Monday was recorded as the busiest day, according to Peña. Just before opening, or before closing, is a good time to come to the gym when it’s less crowded, she also said.
“I’d rather go to an outdoor gym instead of the REC center because not all of my friends go to Fresno State,” Mao said.
She has been a member of Planet Fitness for three years with some of her friends cheering her on in and out of the gym.
“I went to the REC Center during the early years at Fresno State for cardio, weight training, basketball and table tennis,” said fifth-year student Alex Moun, 23.
Since everything was closed during COVID-19, Moun had no place to train. Once businesses started to reopen again, he found another gym outside of the school and got a membership since the REC Center was initially still closed.
“The Iron Office, a private gym I go to, is open 24 hours a day, has kilo plates, plus deadlift platforms and squat racks, dumbbells up to 200 pounds , free massage guns, pose room and the community is very close,” Moun said. “The REC Center is still a great place to go with the track and indoor courts.”
“As far as competition is concerned, whether students use the REC center or an outside gym source, the only goal is simply to be here for Fresno State students and faculty to take advantage of the facility” , Pena said.
The REC Center is working to increase its social media presence to give people a better idea of what’s on offer at the facility, according to Peña. She said that in addition to lifting weights, people can get involved in other activities, socialize and get to know other students safely.
“We would like to see more students using the facility. We are there for them, and this is the home of the Bulldogs,” Peña said.