MARIETTA, Ga. | Aug 29, 2023
Students who walk into the newly renovated recreation center on the Marietta Campus of Kennesaw State University are being met with that exciting and clean smell of all things brand new.
After a 10-month, $7.4 million renovation, all the fitness equipment is gleaming, the facility is waiting to be explored, and the joy was apparent on all those at the reopening ceremony on Tuesday, including Kennesaw State President Kathy Schwaig.
“When we have beautiful places to go, it elevates the experience for all of us,” said Schwaig. “I love the color, the excitement, and the feel of this space. When students can connect with each other, it’s powerful. This provides that. This is a beautiful facility and very exciting day to reopen it.”
The Marietta rec center has been around for more than 20 years, but it officially shut its doors in October 2022 for a refresh. Immediate tasks included installing a new heating-cooling and ventilation system and some electrical upgrades. After that, through multiple focus groups, students provided ideas of what they wanted in the fitness center.
Executive Director for Sports and Recreation Tara Parker said students’ top wish was more space for weights and conditioning, as well as more group fitness classes and some outdoor adventure activities.
The project also included bringing in new fitness equipment, treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, weight machines, plus updating the area known as the Strength Arcade to allow more Olympic-style lifting for students. There is also a new turf-covered area where students can pull a sled or flip tires, which is unique to the Marietta rec center compared to the Kennesaw Campus rec center.
Assistant Director for Marketing and Member Services Brittany Booth said streaming services have been added so students can attend a group fitness class in person or participate from home.
“Our mission was to create engagement and opportunities for students to learn lifelong healthy habits they can take beyond their college career, as well as build an affinity for Kennesaw State,” Booth said.
During the renovation, the Health Clinic was relocated, and the space it formerly held in the rec center is now a lounging area for students.
“It’s an area where students can come and study,” said Parker. “Or maybe they can meet up with their group before a workout, or if they want a place to hang out with their friends after a workout, they have it.”
While the Marietta rec center is open, the total renovation isn’t complete. There are still plans to add a climbing gym as well as replace the basketball floor surface, update the goals in the two-court gym, and add a pickleball court, badminton lines, and a walking track around the courts.
“These are all things students have been asking for,” Parker said. “We are excited to see that come to fruition.”
Booth said she is confident students will like the changes in the renovated rec center.
“I hope students feel like they have this place to go to get away from it all — class, studying, all the homework – and make themselves and their well-being a priority,” she said.
– By Amanda Cook
Photos by Matt Yung
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.