Beyond Academics Wheaton College Hopes Sports Facility Will Help Foster Wholeness in Students
Pierce, Victoria, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
With a brand new Sports and Recreation Complex in the middle of campus, Wheaton College students will have no excuse for putting on the dreaded "Freshman 15."
The $13.5 million facility opened earlier this month and has quickly become a part of the daily routine for many students, faculty and staff.
The campus's newest addition will be dedicated at the start of homecoming festivities Friday with a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in the newly named King Arena, formerly Centennial Gym.
"We're about the development of whole and effective servants for Christ," said Wheaton College Business Manager Steve Mead. "This building is about the wholeness part."
The idea for the complex actually came from a former student leader who suggested the college needed a place for students to work out, get in shape and just blow off steam, Mead said.
The college agreed and in spring of 1998 started drawing up the plans to offer students something beyond a tough academic regimen. Until now, athletic facilities were largely the domain of sports team members.
Now athletes and former couch potatoes will be working out side by side.
The complex is divided into three areas, the Eckert Center, the Chrouser Aquatics Center and King Arena.
The arena and pool used to be in separate buildings, but an addition linked the two for a total of 134,605 square feet of recreation and fitness space under one roof.
"Half of it is new and half of it is reused," Mead said.
The main entrance opens into the Eckert Center great hall which the college is hoping will become a social center with tables, couches and snacks, said Glenn Town, director of the sports and recreation center.
Most visible is the addition of an 8,000-square-foot workout room graced with natural light from windows on three sides and a mirror on the fourth. Athletes and novices alike will use the room, stocked with treadmills, stationary bikes and step machines, along with a weight-machine circuit and a free weight area on a special padded floor. …