It offers a conducive environment for mental and social enrichment, school leaders said.
Published on: 12-21-2023
Lined on one side with large windows overlooking its beautiful grounds, La Sierra University’s new, 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter) fitness center offers student athletes, campus staff, and community members a modern, dedicated space in which to exercise.
The facility opened for use at the Seventh-day Adventist school in Riverside, California, United States, during the first week of school this fall quarter. On November 30, university, athletics, and health and exercise science leaders celebrated the new facility with an official grand opening event. The festivities followed an earlier ribbon-cutting ceremony for the athletics department’s new gym floor in the Alumni Pavilion, a long-awaited upgrade that eliminates dead spots on the floor’s surface due to compression of the underlying shock-absorbing pad. The new floor, which took 11 weeks to complete, is constructed of top-rated, 3/4-inch hardwood maple.
“The construction of a new fitness center and the replacement of our gym floor are important steps in aligning our athletics department with the overarching goal of fostering student and community development,” La Sierra University Athletics director Javier Krumm said. “The new facilities will not only help the physical well-being of our students but also provide a conducive environment for mental and social enrichment, reinforcing our dedication to a well-rounded educational experience.”
The fitness center was built by the Swinerton company and designed by NAC Architecture, a West Coast–based firm that specializes in designing environments for the education and health-care industries and other sectors. In addition to its picture windows that provide peaceful views of towering palms, pines, flowering shrubbery, and other flora and fauna, La Sierra’s fitness center features large-screen television monitors on which exercisers can view sports broadcasts and stock market activity. The space was designed and set up for use around La Sierra’s Health and Exercise Science classes. The athletics department also purchased equipment for the center, including new treadmills, elliptical trainers, dumbbells, and weight benches.
Funding for the construction of the new center derived from university debt refinancing in 2019 that secured an additional US$3 million at a low interest rate. Because the funding was tax exempt, it had to be used on a capital project. A campus-wide poll was conducted, and an overwhelming majority of respondents voted that the funds should be used to construct a new fitness center.
The La Sierra University Board of Trustees voted to approve the project and authorized an additional US$1 million for the cost.
“It is very gratifying to drive on Heritage Way at night and see through the lit windows the energy and excitement of students exercising and enjoying this new facility,” La Sierra University chief financial officer David Geriguis said.
The La Sierra University Fitness Center is open for use by community members who can purchase passes to the facility. A local Riverside fire station also regularly uses the center as a training site for firefighters.
“The new fitness center is a great addition to the university’s campus,” senior marketing and Art+Design major Aaron Desjardins said. “It’s nice and spacious, and the natural light is definitely a plus. I use it three to four times a week, and it’s always an enjoyable experience.”
“At the core of our educational philosophy is the promotion of integral development for our students, encompassing physical, mental, social, and spiritual facets of growth,” Krumm said. “La Sierra University Athletics looks forward to the positive impact these improvements will have on our campus, contributing to the overall flourishing of our students and the surrounding community.”