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Falcon Center offers fitness and rec opportunities for all, not just athletes

Clinical exercise physiology graduate student Emily Youngstrand, left, listens to the heartbeat of Hailey Skog in the Gary Thibodeau Health and Human Performance Laboratory during the Falcon Center grand opening Sept. 21, 2017. (Tori Schneider/Student Voice)

Falcon News Service

September 27, 2017

Nearly 2,600 graduate and undergraduate students have used the Falcon Center at least one time since Sept. 1.

To some students, the facility may seem intimidating or like it only benefits student-athletes, but full-time students pay a total of $162.39 in segregated fees each semester towards Falcon Center Operations and Falcon Center debt service.

What, then, can non-student-athletes get from this building that they are financing?

“The Falcon Center is actually much more than just a student-athlete center,” Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Jake Brunnquell said. “It’s a multi-use recreation facility.”

Brunnquell runs Falcon Outdoor Adventures, which includes the indoor climbing wall, bouldering wall, and rental center.

In the rental center, students can find free equipment for camping, hiking, biking, fishing, snow sports and more. These services are available to faculty and staff and community members for a small fee.

FOA also facilitates camping, backpacking and other outdoor trips for students, at an affordable price. Weekend trips cost only $55.

Students now have free regular, convenient access to a top-of-the-line fitness facility. Before the Falcon Center, athletic teams dominated the equipment that was in the Emogene A. Nelson Center, and students did not have open access all day as they do now.

Fitness and Recreation Services Coordinator Chad Flanagan oversees the fitness facility with more than 40 cardio machines, as well as the auxiliary gym, group fitness programs and the free weights and plate-loaded area. This is an area designated only for athletes part of the day with equipment more specific to weight-lifting and is free from machines.

In the coming year, Flanagan said he hopes to implement new programs at the Falcon Center. Soon community members will also be able to participate in group fitness classes that are currently only open to students.

“A lot of this stuff is intimidating to people, and we want to make sure that people are confident and know how to use the equipment,” said Steve Stocker,  director of recreation. “One so they stay safe but two is just, you know, you have this resource but if you have no training in how to use it, then you don’t really know what to do.”

Flanagan hopes to combat users’ anxieties while also providing opportunities for students to get work experience on campus. Health and Human Performance (HHP) students will potentially be put to work as physical trainers, and provide fitness plans to students and community members who are looking to get into working out but might need some guidance.

“We want to tap into those students to work for campus recreation and get them some practical learning application while they’re here,” Stocker said. “It’s great for their resume if they can work in our department, get some time on the floor, get some time interacting with other students, faculty and community members now, it’s only going to help them get a job when they leave here.”

Kendra Bornick, a senior HHP major, will graduate in December before she has the chance for this kind of on-campus employment, but she wishes she did.

“I think that would be a great opportunity for all HHP students,” Bornick said.

Health and Human Performance students have four brand new classrooms and a state-of-the-art exercise physiology lab to conduct their learning in the Falcon Center.

Before, they were sharing spaces in R.A. Karges Center and Rodli Hall.

“Being in the Falcon Center has offered us more from classes to being able to actively show our passion for working out,” Bornick said.

Bornick is disappointed she only gets to use the Falcon Center for one semester but will enjoy it while she can, she said.

“It’s free to us to work out here, and obviously there’s a lot of great equipment here that we can take advantage of,” Bornick said. “Then there’s the recreational stuff and we can rent skates and hiking equipment. It’s cool to have that available to me as a student.”

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