Students joined the staff of Campus Recreation and the Office of Wellbeing Wednesday to celebrate the completion of Phase I of the Reynolds Gym Transformation & Expansion project.
The recently completed facilities feature two full-sized courts and an entire basement space designated for Outdoor Pursuits.
Many students were impressed with how quickly Phase I of the expansion was completed. They are also looking forward to the continuing process of Phases II and III to be completed in the future.
“It’s cool to see it finally completed, after seeing them work on it for so long,” said sophomore Edima Udom.
The space will be primarily dedicated to intramural and club team use, however, open gym hours will also be offered.
“With this addition, a new day is upon us, a new way to look at recreation is here and a new commitment to a full, whole and happy Wake Forest community life will be within each person’s choice menu,” said Director of Campus Recreation Max Floyd. “This change is making a tangible statement of the university’s commitment for the health and well-being of all community members.”
In order to better promote the official opening of the new space, Campus Recreation hosted an event for the campus community featuring a live band, free food and performances by the ballroom dance club. Local nutrition experts and representatives from the Thrive campaign also attended to discuss strategies of healthy living with students.
“I think that holding the whole event with food and stuff was a really good way to promote the opening,” freshman Claire Ewing said, who won a raffle for following the Campus Recreation Instagram page.
Students are encouraged to utilize the new and improved courts, whether they are official student athletes or just want to play pick-up games with friends.
“The addition is going to be a one-stop-shop, a sort of Campus Recreation hub, for students,” said Swain Lewis, the assistant fitness coordinator for the Miller Fitness Center.
Many students expressed surprise at how modern the new facility was, especially when compared with Reynolds gymnasium, built in 1956, and the Miller Center, built in 2001.
“It’s really beautiful — more beautiful than I would originally picture a basketball court to be,” said sophmore Phylicia Montague. “The open concept with all of the windows is refreshing,” sophomore Phylicia Montague said.
The updated facilities mark the completion of the first phase of a three-phase long project through which Wake Forest is demonstrating its dedication to keeping its fitness program modern and up to date, especially when compared with the fitness facilities of rival universities.
“I am looking forward to not seeing rust, nor missing grout, nor worn out corners, but seeing new standards, new backboards, new fitness equipment and new offices with windows looking to a campus eager to see what is next from our programmers and leaders,” Floyd said.
“I am looking forward to showcasing our facility and programs to my peers within the southeast and ACC.”
Construction on phases II and III of the renovations will continue into the future, as the university strives to ensure that future generations of Wake Forest students will also be able to utilize equipment being installed now.
“I am looking forward to not only the hop in my step as I get out of my car each morning but the satisfaction in my soul when I leave each evening knowing that we have made this university a better place for not only those in attendance now, but for every future Wake Forester,” Floyd said.
Other changes include laundry facilities and office spaces that are located below the new courts.
The Outdoor Pursuits organization also moved out of their offices in the old part of the Reynolds building and expanded into a larger space on the first floor of the addition, which will allow for better equipment storage.
“Phases II and III of the renovations will include a new climbing facility, and we will be offering more international trips in coming years,” said Lee Collette, coordinator of Outdoor Pursuits. “Our main purpose is to encourage students to unplug and escape the bubble of Wake Forest and Winston-Salem,” Collette said. “There are so many unique opportunities right here in North Carolina that many students don’t know about.”
The new gymnasiums were not only designed as basketball courts, but also to accomodate several different sports.
“The new courts are a lot more versatile,” sophomore David Choe said, noting that the lines on the court surface allow for not only basketball games, but also other sports such as volleyball and badminton. “I will be using the open gym hours because I play a lot of basketball.”
When asked about the variety of uses for the addition, Floyd mentioned that the open floor plan of the two courts would allow for nonathletic events to take place in the space as well, including blood drives, local high school proms, receptions and alumni events.
“This addition will provide activity space and gathering areas, as it injects the campus with excitement, hope and vision toward what lies ahead,” Floyd said. “The student experience will be changed in that the venue where they gather will have views, natural lighting and easy access.”
Not only will undergraduate students be able to use the new space, but several graduate students who attended the event expressed excitement about the addition as well.
“As a health and exercise graduate student, I think it is important that the university emphasize ways for students to improve their quality of life through fitness, and I think that the new gym space will cultivate that,” graduate student Nathan Love said.