Newly Installed Fitness Room in Abel/Sandoz Hall

Nebraska students Ella Stephan (left) and Kate Gaulke work out on the equipment at the newly installed gym in Abel/Sandoz Hall on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln city campus on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.

The start of the spring 2020 semester brought a new addition to Sandoz and Harper residence halls: fitness rooms.

The new fitness rooms are courtesy of a partnership between University Housing and Campus Recreation, according to assistant director of housing Tony Rathgeber, and they were created so students could exercise closer to where they live. He said University Housing renovated the room and flooring and provided the TVs and fans, while Campus Recreation provided the exercise equipment.

The Sandoz fitness room contains three stationary bikes, two stair stepping machines and a rowing machine. The Harper fitness room contains the same machines and others, such as a treadmill. Both rooms have multiple TVs, a large fan and all University of Nebraska-Lincoln students have 24/7 access to the rooms.

“It’s kind of a partnership between the two of us to try to get students to be more active and provide some of those things in a bit more of a convenient location,” Rathgeber said.

The process started when spaces opened up in Harper and Sandoz. University Housing and Campus Recreation turned a rarely used computer lab in Harper and the old office space for the Residence Hall Association in Sandoz into the fitness rooms. 

“We decided we would try to repurpose the spaces into something the students might find more beneficial,” Rathgeber said.

According to Rathgeber, some students have reported that Campus Recreation is further away than they feel like going to work out. So, University Housing wanted to provide additional convenience by bringing some of those services to the residence halls.

“This was a great opportunity to sort of find a way to bring a little of Campus Recreation into those two spaces that became available,” he said.

The leadership team for University Housing used feedback from a spring survey of residence hall students as insight into what students might like to see in a residence hall workout facility.

The planning for the rooms took place in the summer, the renovations took place in the fall and the fitness rooms officially opened for use at the beginning of the spring semester.

According to Sandoz residence director Tobey Brockman, the fitness center in Abel gets quite a bit of use from mid-afternoon into the evening.

Brockman said many students in Sandoz were excited to hear about the new fitness center.

“I’ve seen a lot of students head down there,” he said. “It’s very positive, especially since they came back to some cold weather.”

Rathgeber said he is most looking forward to the convenience the new fitness rooms will bring to students.

“On particularly snowy days,” he said, “a student doesn’t have to go to Campus Rec and can still find an opportunity to work out in the building.”