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April 28, 2005

Bellefield exercise facilities to expand

Faculty and staff irked by being shut out from the workout facilities at the Petersen Events Center soon will have more recreational options at Bellefield Hall.

The Senate benefits and welfare committee, then chaired by Herbert Chesler, had argued during the Petersen Center’s construction and after its opening in 2003 that The Pete’s recreational facilities should be available to employees as well as students.

But following a study of student demand at the facilities, Pitt’s administration ruled that The Pete would be a student-only facility. Other workout areas in campus dormitories also are limited to students.

However, at this month’s Faculty Assembly meeting, Chesler praised the administration for following through on a promise to provide alternative facilities for faculty and staff.

“We’ve been informed by Dr. [Robert] Pack that new recreation facilities and improvements will be forthcoming in Bellefield Hall, and I consider that the first fulfillment of that promise,” he said. Pack is vice provost for academic planning and resources management.

According to Marilyn Ross, facilities coordinator/co-director, Department of Health and Physical Activity, whose unit coordinates recreational facilities and related programs campus-wide, Room 205 in Bellefield Hall will be converted to a “cardio room,” with six treadmills, six elliptical machines and three stationary bicycles, among other equipment.

In addition, five offices on the building’s second floor north corridor, formerly used by the Katz Graduate School of Business, will be converted to a large multi-purpose dance studio for step aerobics, yoga and exercise sessions, open to faculty and staff as well as students, Ross told the University Times.

Construction will begin at the end of spring term with the goal for the new facilities to open in the early fall, Ross said.

The floor of the basketball court in Bellefield also will be refinished in a smaller project expected to be completed in July, she said.

Ross added that the new rock climbing wall in Trees Hall also is available for employee use.

Information on Pitt’s recreational facilities, including hours of operation and health related programs and classes open to employees, are posted on the web at:

—Peter Hart

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