Cutting the “ribbon” at the new Blue Devil Fitness Center with the new climbing wall in the background are (left to right): Director of Athletics Gregory Prechtl, President Virginia S. Horvath, Student Association President Erin Dorozynski, and State Senator Catharine Young.
Celebrating the ribbon-cutting for the new Blue Devil Fitness Center and “Fitness Friday” at SUNY Fredonia, President Virginia S. Horvath told the large crowd at the new facility in Dods Hall, “We are stronger if we are fit in every way.”
Reflecting also on the university’s commitment to sustainability, President Horvath said the concept includes the “way each (person) sustains themselves,” and that the new center draws students into an “inviting and exciting place.” She also remembered as a young person taking very seriously exercises in school as part of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and said she hoped the new fitness center would “inspire us all.”
Among the speakers were State Senator Catharine Young and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell. Senator Young called returning to campus, “a real trip down memory lane for me,” noting recent construction projects she has been involved with including the new Science Center and Campus and Community Children’s Center, and celebrating what she called the new “facility of fitness.” She thanked the many student/athlete volunteers demonstrating equipment at the event and the wonderful “family at Fredonia” for their vision in providing this opportunity for students. Assemblyman Goodell came equipped for the occasion, bringing along climbing ropes he had used climbing in the Berkshires as a college student. He said the new center reflects Fredonia’s commitment to the development of the “whole student” desired by employers and communities. Assemblyman Goodell noted that fitness is more than a personal commitment, but reflects a “focus of where we want to be and the energy to get there,” adding, “What a great addition to the Fredonia experience.”
Vice President for Student Affairs David Herman recognized and thanked the many people involved in planning and constructing the facility, particularly the students, who approved the use of student funds to operate the facility. Varsity student-athletes and student leaders from the Student Association including Madison Brown of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Student Association President Erin Dorozynski took part in the planning stages alongside JCJ Architecture, Facilities Planning, and Department of Athletics and Recreation staff members. Dr. Herman also recognized the new director of the center, Jason Bishoff, a Fredonia alumnus, and representatives from Resetarits Construction, builders of the facility.
Architect Bruce Kellogg, principal of JCJ Architecture, spoke about how the former pool area in Dods Hall was transformed into the fitness center, utilizing the existing space in a unique way, adding that “these kinds of days (ribbon-cuttings) you embrace.” He introduced Ms. Dorozynski, describing her as a student as the “most important speaker.” Ms. Dorozynski said she has heard “countless expressions of gratitude” from students for the new fitness center, noting that no matter the project or initiative at SUNY Fredonia, “students are always a huge part of the conversation.” She added that when candidates are interviewed for positions, people talk about the “Fredonia fit” - which can now be taken literally.
With the ceremonial cutting of a string of exercise bands instead of the traditional ribbon, students, university officials, lawmakers, and representatives of the builder and architects opened the new center. Exercise science major Kimberly Fitzgerald and accounting and finance major Ryan Couell, both of Hamburg, demonstrated the new climbing wall at the south end of the fitness center during the event.
The fitness center is a 9,000 square foot facility in the space which once housed the Dods Hall swimming pool. It consists of a two-sided rock climbing wall with auto-belay and 107 pieces of new equipment -- 18 treadmills, 10 cross trainers, 25 elliptical machines, five adaptive motion trainers, four recumbent bikes, four upright bikes, one upper body ergometer, 25 selecterized weight machines, one Smith machine, eight adjustable benches, three abdominal benches, three heavy duty power racks with platforms, plus over 6,500 pounds of free weights. There are also 10 medicine balls, 10 exercise balls, 30 resistance bands, and 20 work-out mats.
University officials are confident the long-awaited addition will enhance campus life and help with recruitment across all student populations.
"The design and equipment selection,” Assistant Director of Athletics Megan Valentine said, “were tailored to fit the needs and desires of all Fredonia State students ranging from the occasional user to club and varsity sport student-athletes. Furthermore, with research linking physical activity to increased academic performance, the center can only help us in achieving this desirable end. I'm thrilled that we now have the opportunity to offer this enhanced experience for our students."
Fredonia State University Director of Athletics Greg Prechtl expressed his pleasure with the final design and functionality of the new Blue Devil Fitness Center, which will operate under the direction of Mr. Bishoff. In his most recent position, Mr. Bishoff served as fitness director for the City of Tallmadge (Ohio) Recreation Department, a 105,000-square foot facility with over 5,000 members. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management and Exercise Science from Fredonia State, and a Master of Arts degree in Exercise, Leisure and Sport from Kent State University.
“In addition to exceptional credentials and experience,” Mr. Prechtl said, “Jason has a management style that will fit very nicely on this campus. I expect he will provide the kind of outstanding leadership that our students have come to expect and deserve."
Mr. Bishoff said he expects the Blue Devil Fitness Center to “serve as a hub for healthy socializing and campus fun.”
“From my perspective,” he said, “this facility is truly the ‘missing piece' on an extremely well-planned campus. I am thrilled to see the energy and excitement that the new fitness center has brought to the student body. The overwhelming response thus far is extremely gratifying."
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