#Since2020: back on the evolution of the leisure center throughout the pandemic

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During the first week of March, The Montclarion will post content related to the two-year commemoration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the effect it has had on the University campus community. of State of Montclair #Since2020.

The return to a fully functioning recreation center on the Montclair State University campus has been endless. However, he is finally starting to look like he was before.

Before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the recreation center was one of the real hot spots on campus. It always seemed full of energy between working out in the gym, playing club or intramural sports, swimming, special group nights and more.

Students like Trent Freeman, who is also the intramural sports area supervisor at Montclair State Campus Recreation, remember it as a place to hang out with friends and have a good time.

“You met everyone at [recreation center]”, Freeman said. “You can always, but [before the pandemic] it was flooded. It was very difficult to find open machines, [so] it was busy.

A recreation center on a college campus is a perfect relationship. There are many students who in their spare time like to exercise in the gym or have a good time with friends playing video games in the lounges or other sports in the gymnasium. Over the past few years, they have sought to keep that same experience alive for their students, while protecting them from the virus.

Many thought it was a fun and exciting community, including Romayne Eaker-Kelly, the campus recreation director.

“I keep in touch with many alumni and student leaders who [have] worked for us, and they describe their experience here at campus recreation as a home away from home,” Eaker-Kelly said. “[It’s] a place where they develop important friendships and relationships and where they can come to spend time and experience life.

The weight room is a popular place for students.
Photo courtesy of Romayne Eaker-Kelly

Since reopening, anyone wishing to enter the building must wear a mask at all times and provide proof of their completed Hawk Check, which is a quick health assessment on the university’s website.

For much of the past year and a half, using the recreation center has often been a struggle for students. Much of the fitness equipment was off limits due to social distancing guidelines, along with basketball courts, which were frequently closed for regular use. Group events weren’t in effect and the overall recreation center experience just wasn’t the same, according to Jack O’Dell, a sophomore in product design.

“There was a limit to how many people could be on each floor, there was only one bench and one squat rack and it was very difficult,” O’Dell said. “I wasn’t really motivated to go to the gym [anymore] because there would be a line and I would have to camp in front of the gym for about 20 minutes just to get a spot.

The Recreation Center now requires Hawk Check for all students entering the facility.  Photo courtesy of Romayne Eaker-Kelly

The Recreation Center now requires Hawk Check for all students entering the facility.
Photo courtesy of Romayne Eaker-Kelly

In the fall of 2020, travel restrictions made it extremely difficult for club teams to play, which forced most clubs to practice only. To help keep the players as active as possible, intra-squad games and scrums were played between them. Although most seasons weren’t played at all, club sports remained mostly untouched despite numerous protocols.

Because club sports are student-run, Kyle Bianchi, the intramural and club sports coordinator, serves more as a guide and advisor to these teams.

“We followed the same planning schedule that we would have in a normal year without COVID-19,” Bianchi said. “Since students lead and manage these clubs, we went through our typical transition process at the end of the spring semester, our summer planning meetings [and] our budget.

On the bright side, as spring 2022 approaches, the recreation center is starting to come back to life. The gymnasium is completely open and fully functioning, along with the basketball and volleyball courts, and with the return of club and intramural sports, students and staff are extremely excited.

“Our students are resilient,” Bianchi said. “If the students enjoy their time and our programs work well, I’m happy. »

O’Dell is one of many students who are excited about the return to a new “normal” for the rec center.

“Now that everything is open, I think there are, like, three benches [now] and I’m able to go there,” O’Dell said. “I’m more motivated to go. It’s better. I feel more comfortable and it’s more of an easy task for me.

As the recreation center is still trying to get back to what it once was, this doesn’t stop their plans for the future. These include the construction of an esports arena that will be at the Montclair State University ice rink and a multipurpose outdoor court for basketball, tennis and volleyball. , which would be placed on the existing land located near the Dioguardi land.

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