This fall semester, students enrolled in any HPER — health, physical education, and recreation — courses at the college will be eligible to use the Barbara Gill Lifetime Fitness Center on campus. Previously, students were required to be enrolled in a Lifetime Fitness course to access the Center.
Joe Weis, professor and director of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Wellness,.said he thinks the policy change will increase interest in the Fitness Center and physical education at the college. The former model for funding the Fitness Center was through funds raised by Lifetime Fitness credit hours.
“The new funding model is a completion model, opening up the fitness center to more students,” said Weis. “We’re going to have more students with a greater satisfaction at Johnson County Community College, more students actually coming on campus … and then we’re going to have greater retention of those students on campus and that is my ultimate goal … If they can get fit in the meantime that’s just a bonus.”
Weis also said he hopes this is a step toward expanding access to all of the college’s fitness facilities to a broader range of students and eventually expanding the facilities themselves.
“We’re going to have to adapt … and this is the opportunity for us to change … We need to take that opportunity and make things better than they were. [We need to] make the fitness center, make the weight room, make the fieldhouse more accessible.”
Adjunct professor and wellness coordinator Ruth Dey said she is not sure how the changes will affect the Fitness Center, but thinks allowing more access is a positive change.
“I don’t know what to expect … We want people to be active. That’s really what it comes down to. I think [the change] is a good thing,” she said.
Chuck Stout, a Lifetime Fitness student, said he thinks more new faces in the Fitness Center might be a good thing as well.
“[The possibility of a busier Fitness Center] doesn’t concern me. I’ve never had a problem over here getting on a piece of equipment,” Stout said.
Stout also mentioned that one of his first experiences in the Fitness Center was a bit frightening.
“I must admit, the first time I ever came I thought [the circuit] was so easy I did it twice and I was hauled out of here in an ambulance to a hospital,” said Stout. “So I make sure I drink a lot of water now between all my activities, because I was very dehydrated at that time.”
As more students trickle into the Fitness Center this fall, the employees seem eager to greet them, help them achieve their goals, and walk out of the Center on their own power.
The Fitness Center is located in GYM 100; it is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
ECAV Radio station manager Rebecca Crockett supplied the audio interview for this story; video shot and edited by JCAV-TV executive producer Lily Fritts.