After 2½ years of partial closures and loud work, the University of Wyoming Half Acre Gym is completely finished and open to students and faculty.
The pool opened for use last week, marking the final piece of the facility completed after the $27 million renovation, said Pat Moran, director of campus recreation.
“We’ve heard so many positive comments on how much (people are) enjoying the different areas of our renovated facility,” he said. “The students seem very pleased.”
While the long wait put many areas of the gym out of commission for months at a time, the UW community understood and accepted the renovation’s possible annoyances and length, Moran said.
“I thought they were incredibly understanding with what we were trying to do,” he said.
One major addition was the Wellness Center, an addition planned since the beginning of the project, Moran said.
“We looked to do something more than just physical wellness,” he said. “It’s a great addition to Half Acre.”
While athletic training is available by a physical trainer, increased mental wellness is the goal of the center, said Lena Newlin, assistant director of the center.
“It’s really focused on promoting health and wellness in a holistic way,” she said. “We’re not just focused on one dimension of wellness, but multiple ways. We do that through a variety of programs.”
Most of the options available attempt to allay students’ worries and troubles, Newlin said.
“One of the things we know is stress and anxiety are two of the largest impediments to student success,” she said. “By reducing stress, they become more successful and altogether better.”
Programs vary from stress relief mindfulness workshops to Wellness Wednesday series, where presenters come and share their experiences. A cooking class teaching good nutritional habits is even in the works, Newlin said.
“We’ve got other, more creative things we’re going to be doing,” she said. “We’ve got an art wellness program, and we hope to bring in certified therapy dogs on Monday for students stressing over finals week.”
While most of the center’s programs are out and available, students can still look forward to a few more set to open in the coming months, Newlin said, such as massage therapy for students. Students can also drop into the center for meditation sessions.
The rest of Half Acre has seen much success, Moran said.
“All of our programs have great participation,” he said. “Probably our number one area is in our weightlifting and cardio area.”
The climbing wall is also very busy, Moran said.
“It’s one of the nicest indoor walls in the region, and students are really enjoying it,” he said.
Intramural sports and outdoor programs are also busy as ever, Moran said, with help from everyone making the renovation a success.
“I think the really great thing about this project was the support from students and ASUW,” he said. “They were very interested in the renovating. We also had great support from the state of Wyoming.”