Pumped-up Bickman Fitness Center open for business

You may already feel healthier just reading this: on September 10 at noon, the expanded Bickman Fitness Center opened its doors.

The addition of 7,000 square feet to the fitness center meets the growing demand from students, faculty and staff for more health and wellness options, pumping up the opportunities for Clarkies to get, and stay, in shape.

“The bottom line is that Clark students and community members are increasingly interested in taking care of themselves, not only intellectually, but also physically,” says Sean Sullivan, director of athletics and recreation. He cited the growing participation in club sports and intramurals, as well as a passion for overall fitness among students, faculty and staff that the pre-renovation Bickman could not accommodate.

The expanded facility includes two floors. The top floor features cardio equipment (ellipticals, treadmills, etc.) with an elevated walkway leading to a large multipurpose room for wellness-related classes and group fitness activities. The bottom floor includes a large cardio room with dozens more machines, a room outfitted with weight-training equipment, and a separate semi-private room dedicated to free-weight use. An area for medicine ball and kettlebell workouts is also part of the new layout.

Some of the new equipment, including all of the free weights, will not be installed until Sept. 13, and will be available for use Sept. 14.

Trish Cronin, assistant athletic director/senior women’s administrator, notes that prospective students and their parents touring Clark routinely ask to see the fitness center, which had been outstripped by the University’s needs. The new space not only doubles the center’s size, but the once drab walls are painted in vibrant Clark scarlet, and even the flooring is flecked with red.

With the addition of space and equipment — purchased from leading suppliers like Precor, Life Fitness and Matrix — visitors to the Bickman can “spread out and relax a bit, creating a better atmosphere,” Cronin says. “Everything was pretty tight in the cardio area, but now people will be able to find the piece of equipment they want, and if they can’t I’m always looking for feedback.”

One of the most notable improvements is the doubling in size of the multipurpose room, to about 1,800 square feet. Cronin said she and Sullivan are anticipating that the large, glass-walled area, which looks out onto the campus, will attract more groups who need space for everything from yoga to karate, to dance and hip hop.

The goal, she says, is that all will feel welcome in the bigger, brighter, better-equipped Bickman Fitness Center.

“I think people will be pleasantly surprised with the size and the newness,” Cronin says. “We hope that by creating this space it will invite more people from the campus to participate. It’s a better home for everyone.”