Recreation and Wellness Center opens new ‘Rec Deck’


Julia Bonavita

FGCU’s Recreation and Wellness Center opened January 2020.

Riley Hazel, Assignment and Features Editor

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Recreation and Wellness Center has just opened its own outside workout area.

“The Rec Deck is different in that it provides a space for multi-functional training, Olympic-type lifting, body-weight training and group fitness classes all at the same time,” Amy Swingle, Director of Campus Recreation, said. “It’s designed for students to use it as individuals or in a group personal training session.”

It is located directly outside the Recreation and Wellness Center and holds high-intensity stamina training equipment. During the grand opening of the facility, guided ab attack and bootcamp classes were offered.

“The fact that the facility is right next to my dorm room makes it so easy to workout,” Andrea Toles, an FGCU student, said. “The Rec Deck is just another added benefit of going. I already signed up for the ab attack class scheduled for next week.”

The Recreation and Wellness Center opened in 2020 after the university was funded $18 million through the capital improvement fund. Students can use the facility and attend group classes for free and memberships for faculty are for sale.

“Five years ago during the design phase of the URWC, we saw this perfect piece of land directly outside the existing Dooner Strength & Conditioning floor to be used for some sort of outdoor space,” Swingle said. “We thought of multiple ideas, but ultimately, we knew we needed more activity space and that the URWC was already going to be too small for our student population.”

The industry standard for strength and conditioning space is one square foot per enrolled student, according to Swingle. “We know we couldn’t meet that standard indoors, but we could come closer if we literally think ‘outside the box,’” Swingle said.

Seventy-five percent of students utilize FGCU’s Campus Recreation facilities, programs or services, according to the Campus Recreation website.

The 50,000-square-foot building has a multitude of services. Indoor basketball courts, a cardio deck and a conditioning room overlook the campus wetlands.

Campus Recreation plans to offer “Learn to Lift” classes in January to educate students on the workouts they can complete outside in the new space.

Although the university doesn’t have any immediate plans for continuing with phase two of construction, Swingle said that they will be adding more student activity space on campus.