Starting spring semester, a multipurpose room and a cycling room will be available to University of Maryland students, faculty and staff for designated programs at the bottom of the Regents Drive Parking Garage.
Construction for the $750,000 renovation of this 3,500-square-foot space — which used to be a computer lab and was turned into a storage space for IT equipment about a year ago — is scheduled to start by the end of September, said University Recreation and Wellness Project Representative David Flumbaum, who’s also RecWell’s assistant director for facilities and projects.
The cycling room will include 24 bikes. Three showers with changing space built-in, including an ADA-compliant shower with a bathroom in it, will be added as well, Flumbaum said.
“Regents is obviously a space we never programmed in before, so it will be interesting to see how that location on-campus affects how frequently the facility will be used,” said Kate Maloney, assistant director for communications and marketing. “We might reach a different population of people due to the location of the building.”
The space will be open only when programs are going on, Maloney said, mainly because there won’t be check-in staff to verify IDs. Instructors will have the ability to open up the rooms. Groups can rent out the multipurpose room space as well, Flumbaum said.
“It’s a weird spot in the corner of a garage, so we wanted to make sure it’s controlled access,” he said. “However, the space will be programmed heavily with classes, similar to what the current schedule is. The goal is to have more classes and add a few more bikes if we see the demand for that in the future as well.”
Both spaces will have morning, afternoon and evening classes, Flumbaum said.
The multipurpose room and cycling room used to be located on the north side of Cole Field House on the ground floor, which has since been torn down. In December, the cycling room was temporarily moved to the third floor of Cole in room 3109, an old classroom. The multipurpose space was never given an interim location, Flumbaum said, but this semester there are more group fitness classes on the top floor of Eppley to make up for the absence of that space.
“Spinning got its legs and became popular only when it moved to Cole a few years ago,” Flumbaum said. “Keeping it in the middle of campus is something we really wanted to do.”
A lot of the space will still be dedicated to IT storage, said Bill Olen, Facilities Management interim executive director of planning and construction. Overall, the space available for RecWell is smaller than the amount of space that they had in Cole for the two rooms. The new 980-square-foot multipurpose room is a few hundred square feet smaller than the old space, but the cycling room, which will be about 860 square feet, lost only about 80 square feet of space. The showers, bathrooms and IT storage space will take up the rest of the area.
From the Cole renovation project, $650,000 is going toward this renovation. RecWell added another $100,000 just for the creation of the showers, Flumbaum said. The renovation consists of upgrading the lights, heating and air conditioning. The exterior walls, floors, ceiling and both the men’s and women’s bathrooms will remain the same.
“This area is isolated from Eppley and Ritchie, so you can’t run over to either of those places to clean up after a workout,” Flumbaum said. “If a faculty member or a student is in a hurry to get to class after working out, they will be able to shower quickly.”
Before Cole renovations started, a facilities management planning team was tasked with finding spaces to replace all of the RecWell spaces lost in Cole. The basement of Regents Parking Garage was the only underutilized space that could function for both activities, Flumbaum said.
Other spaces RecWell lost or will lose because of the Cole construction include tennis courts, an indoor turf arena and storage space for various groups that are a part of RecWell, Maloney said.
Erik Mayer, a junior material sciences major, lives off campus but goes to Eppley about three times a week.
“Going to Eppley is a little bit inconvenient,” he said. “A small gym in Regents Garage would be helpful to me because there is a bus stop right there and all of my classes are along Regents, so it will be great to just go right there after classes.”