Remember the old adage “You get what you pay for?”
Well this is exactly the case for UNCG and the new Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness. At an astounding $91 Million, the Kaplan Center contains a maximum of seven basketball courts, five group exercise rooms, three climbing walls,an Aquatics Suite consisting of lap lane pool, leisure pool, & exterior deck, among it is laundry list of amenities.
Simply describing the wealth of equipment and spaces that the Kaplan Center provides wouldn’t do it enough justice. By gathering the thoughts and opinions of the student body who used the Kaplan Center however, one can see why UNCG decided to upgrade it is Campus Recreation program from being near the bottom of the UNC system in amount of indoor and outdoor recreation space to having the biggest collegiate recreation center in the state of North Carolina.
In terms of making a first impression, the new Center for Wellness far exceeds the exceptions of students here at UNCG. Junior Landon Surratte states that the Kaplan Center “is an extremely nice building, I’d say top of it’s class as far as a recreation center goes.”
Junior Michelle Vongmalaythong also gives a glowing review of the new recreation center by saying “I really liked it, it’s so big. And then you have so much more to do and I feel like that’s an improvement from the old recreation center.”
The social aspect, which was an emphasis during the construction, was also acknowledged. “You can see more people and it’s easier to socialize since it’s such an open architecture here.”
The plethora of free weights, bikes, treadmills and weight machines was bordering on overwhelming, but ultimately it was a welcome expansion by the student body.
When asked on how he would get acclimated to the new equipment, Surratte says “I just take it one area at a time because it’s so big. I use whatever I can get the most benefit out of.”
Vongmalaythong also adds “I feel as if you would have to come at different times to see when it’s busy since this is a brand new facility. Once you come here, you’ll figure out where everything is.”
Compared to the Student Recreation of old, the Kaplan Center is an exponential upgrade to what was already considered by students to be a good recreation center on campus.
“The new Kaplan Center looks cleaner than the old Student Recreation Center and it’s bigger, so that’s a good thing” says Lue Mona, a junior at the university. “The newness of it actually makes me want to come here more. That and it’s really bright in here along with the rec having a nice atmosphere, it really brings a positive vibe whether you’re working out or just shooting hoops.”
However impressive the new recreation center is for all of its improvements, there are still some concerns surrounding its relocation to Gate City Boulevard.
Mainly these issues are in regards to the longer distance from campus and transportation to get to the Kaplan Center.
Freshman Steven Lee voiced his concerns by saying “Personally, walking [to Gate City Boulevard] can be a bit dangerous, that and I wasn’t completely sure that the Spartan Chariot ran through the rec center.”
Freshman Jeffery Vang has worries about patron safety by stating that “The roads can be scary to walk across at night and especially during high traffic hours such as 12 pm and 5 pm, when most students come to rec center.”
This is a valid concern, as the Kaplan Center’s location is edging closer to off campus. That, and with the limited parking spots to the recreation center, patrons have to resort to parking on the side of the streets into residential neighborhoods, which could be problematic to locals.
There also has to be some consideration to those living on off campus apartments or even commuting to UNCG. Vongmalythong adds that “It’s more of an inconvenience to walk or rely on the shuttle, especially for me, since I walked here from University Village.”
For those living on campus, the walk doesn’t seem to bother them as much.
“I walk because I live in Jefferson Suites, so the distance isn’t really a factor for me,” replies Surratte.
This hasn’t curtailed the efforts of patrons to make their treks to the gym, though, as students actually are compelled to make a concerted effort to participate in what is considered by some to be the crown jewel of the campus.