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Former YMCA offers fitness equipment, gym, meeting space and more

Spring 11 Student center weights

The Point

Spring 2011

"I think it's amazing. I think they put a lot of work into it and it really paid off well."

That's the impression of Michael Dudley, a freshman cinema production major from Tampa, Fla., after using Point Park's new interim Student Center that opened last August. Dudley uses the gym, racquetball court and recreation center, which are part of the five renovated floors in the Boulevard of the Allies building, located next to Point Park's Boulevard Apartments. Those five floors provide students with a serious place to exercise as well as a fun place to be with friends.

"You can just come and relax. It's a nice hangout place," remarks Isabelle Rynski, a sophomore transfer student from Chicago, studying psychology. Rynski also uses the fourth floor fitness center, which is filled with new equipment, including treadmills and elliptical and matrix machines for strength training.

The fitness center is also popular with senior Ryan Clingan, a philosophy major from Emporium, Pa., who says having access to five floors of amenities, compared to the previous one-floor recreation center in Lawrence Hall, is nice. "It allows for a lot more students to come in and work out, a larger variety of things to do. Now, even if you just needed to kill some time between classes, you could come and spend it here rather than going elsewhere or off campus."

The University began work on the interim Student Center in 2010, after purchasing the building as part of its Academic Village Initiative. Improvements made last summer include heating and air conditioning, plumbing, ceiling tile, lighting, carpeting, flooring and painting.

"The building was in very bad need of help," explains Keith Paylo, dean of student affairs and dean of students. For example, the gym: "We took the gym floor down to the bare wood when it was first laid" in the 25-year-old facility. The most challenging aspect of the four-month renovations included the HVAC and plumbing, according to Elmer Burger, University architect. "It was a
constant period of discovery because as we would check things out, we discovered there were leaks or it wasn't getting air or power."

The third and sixth floors are closed, as they were not part of the $825,000 renovation plan, which was approved by the Point Park Board of Trustees in April 2010 for the building's interim use.

The long-term plan for the building is to create a $32 million dollar Student and Convocation Center, which will house a 1,000-seat gym, 2,000-seat convocation center, running track, bookstore, eateries and an emergency management services center.

Take a look inside the new Student Center here (gallery of photos by Gabrielle Mazza).

Text by Nancy Commella

Above photo by Chris Rolinson

The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University