New Year, New Halas

The upper level of Halas is now a dedicated cardio suite. Photo courtesy of @LUCFitness.

Construction in Halas Recreation Center finished a little too late for swimsuit season, but the renovation was completed just in time to counteract the effects of that dining hall soft serve.

The 20,000 square foot addition was completed earlier this month after a gradual process that lasted three years, according to April Boulter Ruther, program director of fitness and aquatics.

“ The main improvement is the addition on the front of Halas,” said Boulter Ruther. “ We nearly doubled all cardio options. There’s an increased number of treadmills, elliptical trainers, arc trainers, bikes and rowers.”

An entire floor, located on the addition’s upper level, is now dedicated to cardio, along with a dedicated stretching and core strengthening area, a spin studio and a group fitness studio.

A majority of the upper level overlooks Lake Shore Campus’ recently completed West Quad, providing students with natural light and a new view while they work out.

All cardio machines have T V capability, with the exception of four athletic treadmills, Boulter Ruther said. The machines also provide access to a list of predetermined websites including the group fitness schedules, Loyola’s homepage and CNN.

Boulter Ruther said the cardio equipment is also wired to alert staff if something is malfunctioning.

Junior Emma Westfall said the renovation will encourage her to make it through her workouts.

“I haven’t gotten to explore all of it, but I look forward to exploring the new facilities and being able to view the campus from my treadmill. It makes me more motivated when I’m working out,” said the 20-year-old.

Prior to the renovation, the lower floor of Halas included a small stretching area, one row of treadmills, a few rows of ellipticals, a handful of stationary bikes and a corner with free weights and machines.

Westfall, an information systems major, said she “despised the dark, dingy” lower floor and that it always felt crowded when she worked out there.

The lower level is now a dedicated weight room with a functional training studio, complete with a Synrgy System from LifeFitness.

The Synrgy System includes a jump platform, battle rope, step bars, monkey bars and other training equipment for strength, agility or sport-specific training.

Hannah Slough, a junior classics major, became accustomed to the Halas addition while staying on campus for summer classes. Though she was impressed by the full-length windows, mirrors by the treadmills and the upper level group fitness studio, Slough was disappointed by other aspects of the addition.

“The new studio looks phenomenal and I can’t wait to attend a class there, but the windows to the rest of the hallway [make] me feel a little uncomfortable,” said the 19-year-old. “I don’t want to stretch or dance or take a class just in case someone is watching,”

In addition to group fitness classes, Halas students can choose to go for a swim in the Halas Pool, which reopened in July. At 25 yards in length and reaching up to seven feet deep, the pool features eight lanes for swimming laps as well as a recreational swimming area that will vary on size based the different daily activities.

Students can workout by using the available kickboards, pull-buoys and aqua jogging belts. All swimmers will be under the watch of American Red Cross certified lifeguards, who are also Loyola students.

Swimming lessons, ranging from basic to advanced levels, are also available and students, faculty and staff can enroll in them through LOCUS. After logging into LOCUS, the Halas Recreation Center login portal can be found in the top right corner of the page.

After completing a workout at Halas, you no longer have to trek to a dining hall to refuel — a cafe and student lounge named “ The Den” has opened on the first floor of the addition, which is part of Damen Student Center.

The third floor of the new facility is home to the Office of the Vice President of Student Development and other student development office spaces.

Boulter Ruther said the addition not only provides students with new equipment, but also new opportunities.

“Halas Recreation Center will offer a wider variety of social opportunities and programs. It will increase the number of opportunities for students to be active and involved,” Boulter Ruther said. “ We encourage everyone to come in to see the new spaces and participate in some of the new opportunities that the addition provides.”

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