New fitness center offers winter haven for athletes

By Brandon Smith

A new fitness center, located directly across from The Dwight Lofts, opened Oct. 23 and offers a new workout facility for students who are serious about fitness.

Lacuna Fitness, 645 S. Clark St., is more of a training facility for athletes than a recreation center for casual members, according to owner Chris Spurlock. The gym is currently not open to the public to purchase memberships, but students can sign up to work with personal trainers or play soccer on Sundays.

“This place is a perfect training facility for athletes, and those are the people we are trying to appeal to,” Spurlock said.

The gym specializes in a workout style that focuses on every muscle in the body through a combination of cardiovascular exercise, weight training and stretching, according to Spurlock.

He said he believes that outfitting Lacuna for a style of exercise that focuses less on machine workouts will set it apart from other fitness centers like Xsport Fitness.

Xsport Fitness declined to comment when asked how competition may affect business.

Spurlock said Lacuna does not use any machines, which frees up space in the facility and encourages trainers to work more closely with their clients. The two-story warehouse is also equipped with a 35-yard turf field with small soccer nets, ceiling ropes and massive tractor tires.

“The turf will definitely set us apart from other gyms,” Spurlock said. “We have this huge amount of space for every kind of field workout you can imagine, and you can’t find anything like this for the winter months.”

Eric Juarez, a sophomore arts, entertainment & media management major, worked with Spurlock to begin hosting pick-up soccer games every Sunday for $5 per player. Jaurez said he hopes to teach martial arts classes at Lacuna in the future.

“I live in The Dwight and noticed that the place was opening, and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to [host games],” Jaurez said.

Dakota Sillyman, a sophomore film & video major, said he wishes a facility like Lacuna had opened sooner.

“I lived in the University Center last year, and I would have loved to have a place like this to go to,” Sillyman said. “It’s hard to find a place to go kick a ball around when it’s snowing out.”

Spurlock said Lacuna Fitness is set up for personal trainers to come in and run their own businesses. He explained that his vision is to create a facility where physical trainers can bring their own clientele and pay him a monthly fee.

Spurlock said he plans on working with colleges in the Loop to offer work for athletes and trainers after they graduate.

“We’re currently part of a program with Malcolm X College where they funnel in students who graduate out of their training program,” he said. “It will be interesting and rewarding for these kids because it’s going to teach them how to run their own business.”

Though the Columbia’s Renegades have been looking for a new practice facility, the possibility of making Lacuna its new home is out of the question because the gym lacks basketball or volleyball courts, according to Abby Cress, president of the Renegades.

Though the gym is currently not offering memberships, Spurlock said that might change.

“We considered creating a deal where college students could come in and use the equipment, since they are our neighbors,” he said. “But for now, we’re leaving that idea on the table.”