The Wait Is Over: Fitness Center Revealed

By Emily Ann Pesquera

The wait is finally over as The University of Tampa’s Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center is completed. The grand opening date of the new gym was Monday, March 21 at 11 a.m.

The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as protein shaker giveaways to students.

This 130,000 square foot fitness center includes three pools, one with an 11-lane pool for intercollegiate competition swimming, another pool for relaxation and leisure, and a third pool which is a clover-shaped hot tub. A two-story pool building with locker rooms and a deck overlooking the pool is currently still under construction. 

The renovated fitness center is also complete with six group exercise rooms, including indoor cycling and yoga.

Besides fitness rooms, classrooms are also included in the phase two expansion, two of which can seat 70 people. The gym also features a study lounge area.

The approximately 20 million dollar renovation is something that many students have been looking forward to since the fall semester. 

“The new gym has much more space which makes it much more comfortable and allows me to have more flexible workouts,” said Kenny Ramsey, freshman marketing and graphic design double major.

An increased number of Precor cardio machines and free weights were also added with the new expansion. Besides the new pools and exercise equipment being the talk of campus, the gym also received brand new basketball courts as well as beach volleyball courts.

The renovation will allow students to have an updated place to work out, study, and clear their minds.

“I go to the gym to relieve stress,” said freshman communications major Connor Fowler. “I like the gym because it helps me clear my mind and show myself what I can do and how much I can push myself before I give up. It teaches me how to not give up and how I don’t need anyone else to better myself.”

Workers in the gym are prepared for an increase in visitors.

“The expansion is going to bring in more traction to the gym, the new weight floor allows room for more machines to be used which will reduce having to wait for people to finish their sets before working out, making the experience better for everyone involved,” said Jill Nunez, UT recreation employee. “All of the new rec facilities like the pool and basketball courts will also bring way more people to the fitness center and potentially pique their interest in seeing the other new things the rec has to offer, such as spin classes in the new cycle room.”

Students, staff, and faculty have waited for the completion of the gym and the wait is finally over. Users of the gym can return to their gym activity without being blocked by construction. 

Students can access the Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center on Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

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