The Walton Lifetime Health Complex will replace one of its four racquetball courts during the renovations scheduled to end in mid October. This reduction is going to allow room for an Outdoor Adventure Center, where students will be able to check out kayaks, mountain bikes, canoes, and camping gear. There are several members of the community, however, who are not happy about the change.
Luciano Garcia Aragon, a JBU student and a racquetball player of 11 years, believes that the WLHC’s reduction of racquetball courts is unnecessary.
“When many players are playing racquetball, it’s really affecting them,” he said. “I know that many professors used to play so I know that they don’t have too much space.”
Garcia has competed in multiple junior and open tournaments throughout his career, winning the State Championship title earlier this year. He has competed in racquetball in two different countries, and continues to be one of the best players in his native country of Nicaragua. He also practices in the WLHC at least once or twice a week, and has noticed that WLHC is following the lead of many other gyms across the nation choosing to repurpose their racquetball courts.
“I usually see people doing something else in the racquetball courts, but not playing racquetball,” he said. While disappointed that the WLHC will be losing a racquetball court, Garcia understands why the Health Complex made the decision to lessen the number of racquetball courts.
“I think that the main reason for why they are doing this is because there is not much demand for racquetball,” he said. “It’s a pretty logical reason, even though I’m sad.”
With recent funding, the University has decided to renovate the WLHC gyms, cardio rooms, weight rooms, and lobby area in order to provide a better-equipped and easily accessible facility for the over 2,600 students and community members that regularly use the center.
The $5 million project is scheduled to be completed later this fall, and will expand most of the facility’s assets, even though they are reducing the number of racquetball courts. Whereas last year the cardio equipment, free weights, and weight machines were all enclosed in a single room, the renovated space will include a new weight area complete with squat racks, a Queenax machine, free weight benches, rowing machines, and access to personal trainers. The new cardio room will host treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes, and the lobby will attain a new lounge area for students and community members. All-in-all, the WLHC will be almost tripling the amount of equipment it has at its disposal. The gyms have also recently added air conditioning and heating, allowing the indoor track to be used comfortably all year round.