Date: December 11, 2013
"The renovation of our fitness center demonstrates UMass Dartmouth's commitment to the 'whole' student. Enriching student life involves not only a dedication to the growth of the mind, but to the health of the body," noted Chancellor Grossman. "Already we are seeing more students flock to this fitness center. It is similar to the impact of our newly renovated Claire T. Carney Library where student use has tripled. Like the library, this is a place where students can gather, a place that makes UMass Dartmouth a home."
UMass Dartmouth's beloved mascot, Arnie the Corsair, along with UMass Dartmouth student-athletes Michael Thomas of Everett and Krista Chauvin of Seekonk, pulled away the curtain and unveiled the fitness center's newest addition. The attendees were greeted with UMass Dartmouth student athletes making full use of the brand new cardio equipment. All of these members of Corsair Nation were adorning t-shirts stitched with the message "We are UMass Dartmouth".
Following the unveiling of the fitness center, remarks were offered by Chancellor Grossman, UMass Board of Trustees Vice Chair and UMass Dartmouth Alumna Maria Furman, UMass Building Authority Director Katherine Craven, Massachusetts State Representative of Dartmouth Christopher M. Markey, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter, Director of Athletics Amanda Van Voorhis, and UMass Dartmouth student Michael Thomas, a 4-year student-athlete and co-captain of the university's football team who also serves as the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
Also on stage for the opening were UMass Trustee and UMass Dartmouth Alumna Margaret D. Xifaras, State Representative of Westport Paul A. Schmid, III, and State Representative of Seekonk Steven S. Howitt.
"I have to say from the perspective of a coach, the opening of this facility is a win for everyone on campus. It's inviting, it's a gathering place, and it promotes community within UMass Dartmouth," said Director of Athletics and Head Coach of the UMass Dartmouth women's basketball team Amanda Van Voorhis. "The space has nearly doubled in square footage. This year is the first ever that October usage beat September and November beat October which proves if you build it...they will come."
Construction has been completed on the $5 million expansion and renovation of the fitness center. The project doubles the size of the very heavily used facility from 8,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet. The expansion houses brand new state of the art cardio equipment and the second floor multipurpose aerobics room. The renovated facility includes a free weight area and new varsity athlete lifting room. The expansion follows a locker and training room renovation to UMass Dartmouth's Tripp Athletic Center, which reconfigured the locker and training rooms to better accommodate university athletic teams, visiting teams, and referees, while also allowing for distinct locker rooms for women's athletic teams.
"This year through the hard work from students, coaches, administrators, and the Board of Trustees, I have finally been able to see this beautiful project come to fruition," offered UMass Dartmouth Senior Mike Thomas. "This fitness center is easily the best gym that I have ever had the pleasure of being in, and it gives me great satisfaction to know that the administration and Board of Trustees saw this need for the gym and took action."
The opening of the new and revamped Fitness Center is part of a series of recent investments aimed at expanding opportunity for UMass Dartmouth students and faculty. Completed projects include the renovation of the Claire T. Carney Library, the Hall-Hildreth IDEAStudio, and the College of Nursing's Elisabeth A. Pennington Simulation Laboratory. The Massachusetts Accelerator for Biomanufacturing is scheduled to open in the coming weeks. In October of this year, Governor Deval Patrick announced funding for a new academic building at UMass Dartmouth that will support the campus's growing enrollment. In addition, there are plans for expansion of the Charlton College of Business and the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST).