Plymouth gym becomes center of health and fitness

By Nader Ihmoud

Columbia students can now successfully follow in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s footsteps after renovations have given school fitness classes a permanent location. Emanuel recently finished The Sprint, a shorter version of the Chicago Triathlon, with a time of one hour and 36 minutes. He finished ninth out of 80 in his age group of 50 year olds.

What used to be a design workshop was turned into a fitness room this past summer. Located beneath the Plymouth gym at the Residence Center, 731 S. Plymouth Ct., renovations began in July, when Spectacle Build Shop was moved to the third floor of the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building. The project was finished on July 15. According to Director of Special Projects Larry Dunn, the project costs

totaled $19,000.

In previous years, Mark Brticevich, fitness and recreation coordinator, would have had people in place to teach the classes but would not have a venue

to hold classes.

“We used to not have space for [the classes],” Brticevich said. “I would have to negotiate with other departments to use their classrooms. That didn’t always work well.”

Starting Sept. 12, students will be able to attend sessions in Street Defense, Capoeria dance, gymnastics, martial arts and culture, Turbo Kick and Hip Hop Hustle cardio kick boxing classes, along with hip hop dance and Vinyasa Yoga at the new fitness studio.

The University Center of Chicago, 525 S. State St.; The Dwight, 642 S. Clark St.; and The Buckingham, 59 E. Van Buren St., also have their own fitness centers but are only open to building residents. Because the buildings are not owned by Columbia, the college can’t dictate who can and cannot use the space.

“It doesn’t bother me,” said freshman audio arts and acoustics major Joe Olson,   audio arts and acoustics major Joe Olson, who uses the Plymouth gym.

Brticevich said those who use the fitness center can do almost anything.

“We   have  the  most   complete   gym … You     walk into any other fitness centers on campus, and you either know it or you don’t,” Brticevich said.

The gym at the Residence Center is now the center for health and fitness on Columbia’s campus and is also the health

center’s location.

“If a person is looking for something about fitness, [he or she] can find it in this building,” Brticevich said.

According to him, the problem with getting students into the fitness center is the misconception that gyms are for athletes and not ordinary people.

“This isn’t a place for jocks,” Brticevich said. “This is a place if you want to be a better student, [if] you want to make college life easier for yourself, you want to get your[self] in here.”

The fitness center has been improving over the years to bring more students in. Brticevich said the fitness center’s budget was recently increased to include additional funds for replacing equipment.  Brticevich said gym equipment doesn’t last forever, and cardio equipment wears even faster time.So every year, three pieces of cardio equipment will be replaced.

An increased budget was also put into place because the fitness center was understaffed. Brticevich said the budget for the gym is approximately $110,000 per year, which includes the budget for the Renegades, Columbia’s athletic program.

The fitness center will begin to list nutritional facts on its website to help students who are reluctant to go to the gym.

“It’s kind of like their own version of P90X, [the home exercise system],” Brticevich said.