An inside look at the Student Recreation Center reopening

Veronica Wernicke, News Editor

On Sept. 5, UNCW’s Student Recreation Center reopened under the state’s shift to phase two and a half. Under this new phase, the rec center was allowed to reopen at a 30% capacity to students, faculty and staff. 

In addition, new measures being taken to ensure everyone’s safety include wearing a face mask at all times except in the indoor and outdoor pools, spacing out the equipment, cleaning, having to reserve facility use and students must register before their first visit.  

Students can reserve their spot for the pool, group fitness, or the climbing walls here. Meanwhile, reservations for the fitness center and track can be made here

Like everywhere else on campus, cleaning measures have increased.

“After every single 50-minute time slot we are wiping everything down,” said Shannon Hardy, a graduate student working as an operation supervisor and the program assistant for the facilities department. “Member Services, they’re wiping down the turnstiles, the front doors, all the highest touch areas. Fitness is wiping down all equipment. Ops we’re kind of floating around helping out wherever. We’ve been helping clean like court one and locker rooms. 

So, for a 50-minute time slot, we have 25 minutes to clean in between. So that’s why even if patrons want to come and sign up for backpack time slots, they still at the end of the 50 minutes have to leave the building, so we can clean and reset everything. That’s our official cleaning procedure but then throughout the shift if anything seems like it should be cleaned, cleaning that too. So lots of cleaning.”

As the operation supervisor, Hardy troubleshoots any problems with rec center patrons. Meanwhile, as the program assistant for the facilities department, she plans scheduling, meetings and helps the professional staff with any needs.

“I’d say like 90% of the time if I ever see someone like breaking (COVID-19) policy if I talk to them I’m like ‘hey like I don’t know if you heard, but like the session ended so we need everyone to leave then come back,” said Hardy. “If I explain to them, they’re like, ‘oh, like, so sorry I didn’t know’ and they comply with the policy right away.”

The policy Hardy gets the most pushback on is wearing masks the entire time.  

“I know that’s frustrating and I can understand that,” said Hardy. “So, just reminding people to keep their masks up. I know that’s frustrating like when you’re in the grocery store so when you’re running around on the track. I get it, you know, people have been really, really nice and understanding with everything. So, it hasn’t been too bad.”

Hardy has also noticed that fewer people have been visiting the rec center since they reopened. 

“There are not a lot of people coming in, I mean I’m used to working normal conditions where the rec center is popping and a bunch of people coming in and out,” said Hardy. “So I don’t know if it’s just that everything’s more spread out or I know there are a lot of procedures set in place, so maybe people just aren’t coming in as much but I don’t think we’re, getting as many patrons as usual. And with group fitness, I know when it was all virtual, they weren’t getting a lot of people logging on to their stuff.  Now that some are able to be in person, more people are coming to the in-person ones but not a lot of people coming in general.”

While some group fitness programs are still virtual, Hardy mentioned a few yoga, cycling and athletic and core hybrid conditioning classes are now being offered in-person. However, Hardy said not too many people have been coming to those either. Like pre-COVID-19, the classes are still about 30 to 45 minutes long.   

Since reopening amid the coronavirus (COVID-19), Hardy said that while the facility hours are shortened, herself and other student workers are still getting the same hours as they did pre COVID-19.  

According to the rec center’s website, they have also suspended guest passes until further notice. In addition, some of the following things are not completely available; personal training, equipment check out, sports clubs and the informal recreation of basketball, racquetball, badminton, pickleball, volleyball, wallyball, table tennis and indoor soccer. 

Per a recent email sent out by Dr. Stephanie Ganser, Assistant Dean of Students, the following things can be checked out “Agility Ladders, Dynamax Medicine Balls (10ln, 12lb, 14lb, 18lb, 20lb), Resistance Bands (Light, Medium, Heavy), Kettlebells (10lb, 18lb, 20lb, 25lb, 30lb, 45lb), Jump Ropes, Yoga Mats, Footballs, Soccer Balls, Frisbees, Bocce, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, Kan-Jam, Ladder Golf and Spike-Ball.”

Things at the rec center will continue to be monitored as the state expands its reopening measures.

“I also work at Continuing Care Retirement Community so I work a lot with older adults,” said Hardy. “So I was nervous when they were like we’re opening back up and I was like, aren’t there clusters on campus? I was really nervous, but I was like I’m just gonna give it a shot. I’ve been really happy with all the procedures. I felt things were really safe, the amount of cleaning we’re doing, people wearing masks and being distant. I feel really confident with our procedures and everything. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future but at least for right now I feel really comfortable working at the Rec Center and with everything, all the procedures the professionals have been put in place and everything the student employees are doing.”