Returning to the recreation facilities

RachelAnn Degnan, Staff Reporter

Recreation Center Director Matthew Boyer and his team have been working on a plan to bring back staff and students safely as students return to Ellensburg for fall quarter and begin classes online and in-person. Since the SURC has been closed, Boyer finally gets to see the results of his hard work. 

“It was kind of overwhelming, but we focused on the safety and what we needed to do,” Boyer said.

Boyer and his team opened the Recreation Center with restrictions just as students moved back to campus. 10 days after opening, over 1,000 students had visited the Recreation Center.

Casey Rothgeb

The Center attributes its success so far to the students following the new regulations.

“The majority of people working out have no issue with the facial covering,” Boyer said. “They understand and are abiding by that, so that is fantastic.”

Wearing a facial covering while working out is not the only new practice. Each piece of equipment is 17 feet apart, and students get spray bottles to use before and after they use the equipment. 

The Recreation Center looks different than it did a year ago. Clinical physiology senior Sanket Catta has been going to the Recreation Center since his freshman year. 

“I think the first thing I noticed was how much space there was and that there were way fewer people,” Catta said. “Everything seemed so clean, and the staff was outstanding about kindly reminding people to follow the rules.”

Some machinery and amenities have been shut down. Roughly 20 workout machines, locker usage, indoor track, basketball and volleyball have been halted until further notice. Group X workouts are still active and they are accessible in-person and online.

Political science freshman Christopher Ruck was astonished the first time he walked into the Recreation Center.

“There [were] so many machines that I wanted to try out and I really like how friendly [the staff] are,” Ruck said. “I do feel like they should open up one of the basketball courts for basketball. I am doing intramural basketball, but I just wanna shoot around and get some practice in.”

Intramural sports for the fall quarter are limited. Boyer recommends students who are unavailable in person but want to participate can join in on esports tournaments online. They are currently offered through the Recreation Center.

Boyer is confident that this is the only way to remain open.

“If the students follow the guidelines and the recommendations, we can get through this quicker,” Boyer said.

Boyer hopes the regulations can loosen up by Jan. 1 and “start returning to normal.” He recognizes that it all depends on the students.

“If they feel that they know better or that they don’t like it and they do their own thing, we could go backwards,” Boyer said.