Hot Spot

Feb. 20, 2001

EASTON, Pa. (www.lafayette.edu) - On the busiest days, up to 600 people visit the Allan P. Kirby Sports Center. The new facility includes a fitness center and weight room, Buck Courts (squash and racquetball), Kamine Gymnasium with three courts, an indoor track, two aerobics/dance rooms, and a game room.

"An average of about 450 participants use the facility on weekdays, as compared to the 230 per day in Alumni Gym during its busiest months," says Jodie Frey, director of recreation services. "Informal recreation, such as pick-up basketball and racquet sports, has increased as well. "The racquet and squash courts have seen over 1,300 users since September," she says. "Student reservations are being taken as late as 1 a.m. on our busiest days."

In Alumni Gym, only one sport could practice each night. Now, there are continual basketball games as well as an informal sport on the third court each night such as indoor field hockey, volleyball, badminton. "I'm a big fan of the new badminton nets," says Claudia Meulenberg '02, "we set them up every Thursday and play for a few hours. The new center is very user-friendly and has plenty of space for more than basketball."

Students and staff are spending more time together at the facility as well. Exercisers can relax and converse in lounge areas, and students have been observed teaching professors how to program the treadmill or cheering as they ascend the climbing wall. "Perhaps for the first time, we have provided a space in which faculty, staff, administrators, and students can interact together in a recreational atmosphere," says Frey.

Many students are excited about the open, spacious feeling of the center and the diversity of choices. "What I like best about Kirby is all the options provided. This ensures that your workout will never become tedious or boring. I use all of the facilities and there's no more waiting in line to get on a treadmill," says Dan Kauke '01.

In addition, instructional programs and group exercise classes of all kinds are offered each semester. The selection includes yoga, dance, rock climbing, weight training, racquet sports, first aid, survival swimming, and a walking clinic.

"These programs really seem to enhance the students' Lafayette Experience. I hear a lot less of 'there's nothing to do'," says Christopher Fairchild, assistant director of recreation services. "Coupled with fitness center usage, these programs keep students involved in positive things and expand their life experiences."

The center has really become the spot for late-night alternative activities. Besides working out or playing sports, students enjoy monthly "Til Two Dance Parties," laser tag, and game nights.

More than 350 students attended the first dance party where the room had been transformed into a dance club atmosphere with colored lights, smoke, and glo-sticks. A professional DJ kept the music pumping, and mocktails were a special feature. "I thought of the dance party as a unadulterated way of having fun: a festival without alcohol," says Kenya Flash '03. "The best part was the mood. People were there for fun."