Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush Students lift weights and workout in the new E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center. The gym opened on Monday, Feb. 13, for students, faculty and staff.

Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush
Students lift weights and workout in the new E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center. The gym opened on Monday, Feb. 13, for students, faculty and staff.

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Andrea Wilkinson/Nevada Sagebrush Students use the cross-fit area in the E.L. Weigand Fitness Center for free space workouts. The new gym opened on Monday, Feb. 13, to students, faculty and staff.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center opened it’s doors on Monday, Feb. 13, after years of planning and construction.

The new fitness center presents many impressive features, such as a one-eighth mile indoor running track, three indoor courts for intramural sports and stadium stairs. The entire building covers 108,600 square feet and is available to all students, faculty and staff.

According to the University of Nevada, Reno’s website, it will, “triple the space dedicated to fitness and recreation at the university.”

“I am really looking forward to the new cardio equipment,” said freshman Elizabeth Pearson. “Lombardi was really cramped and I like that you will be able to look out the windows. Sometimes Lombardi felt like you were in a cave.”

Construction of the gym started June 2015. In total, the cost of the new gym reached around $47 million.

Funding came through an $8 million naming gift from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, a $1.5 million gift from Mario Gabelli and the Gabelli Foundation and $3 million from the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation, student fees and bonds, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Unlike the previous gym, Wiegand is included in student tuition fees. Not everyone is supportive of this shift to included memberships, however.

“I personally feel that the new gym will not be effective because it will be too crowded for people who use the gym and those who don’t use it were forced to help fund it,” said freshman Jordan Blevins. “It is great that the University is trying to encourage students to exercise more, but I still feel that it should have been membership only.”

Student tuition increased $30 a semester for the membership at the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center. A Lombardi Recreation Center membership cost $80 a semester.

Associated Students of the University of Nevada Vice President Jacob Springmeyer, hopes the new gym will help further the University’s PackFit initiative.

“Pack Fit is about more than just fitness,” said Springmeyer in a Dec. 6 interview with the Nevada Sagebrush. “It’s a campaign to educate, promote and inspire students to work on improving their personal health as well as trying to live self-fulfilling lives. Staying active can help you with all the stress we deal with on a daily basis in class and at work and trying to manage all the stuff we have.”

Springmeyer said careful consideration went into the design process to better accomodate the student body.

“One of the most important changes that they focused on when designing the [fitness center] was maximizing the fitness space,” said Springmeyer. Every inch of the [fitness center] was designed to accomodate the needs of all students and to enhance their fitness experience.”

According to the ASUN Instagram account, PackFit is a campaign started to help promote the Wolf Pack to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. It has been featured prominently on the ASUN social media accounts, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

The new facilities open up a wealth of possibilities for its constituents.

“At first, I could not believe how big it was. From the floor to the ceiling, the entire gym is just pristine. It’s a beautiful facility all around,” said Wiegand social media manager Marina Drab. “I think Wiegand is really a gym for everyone. It’s huge and there’s a niche for everyone to find and enjoy working out in,” Drab said.

E.L. Wiegand will host a multitude of intramural sports, as well as brand new fitness equipment. The basketball courts will also function as futsal and volleyball courts.

“I hope this new gym makes people more active. There’s no excuse anymore, it’s included [in tuition] and really nice. You might as well go,” said senior Allison French.

Fitness centers have shown to help attract and retain more students than campuses without one. Students attend schools with a fitness center 30 percent more often, and 50 to 75 percent of those students will stay at that school because of it.

Data also show that students who are physically active three to four times a week have a grade point average one point higher than those who do not exercise.

E.L. Wiegand will host a multitude of intramural sports, as well as brand new fitness equipment. The basketball courts will also function as futsal and volleyball courts.

“I hope this new gym makes people more active. There’s no excuse anymore, it’s included [in tuition] and really nice. You might as well go,” said senior Allison French.

Jake Barnes can be reached at rspacek@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.