The Wade King Recreation Center is one of the newest buildings Western Washington University has to offer. The rec center community has worked hard dealing with COVID-19 over the past two years.
COVID-19 has put a damper on the college experience for some, but with some restrictions being lifted and high vaccine rates Western could start seeing more students enjoying the benefits of the rec center. The rec center just lifted the mask mandate alongside the whole school.
“I think what’s exciting for students is that our building can be a hub for fitness and wellness, but also a hub for socialization and relationship building,” the rec center’s Operations Manager, Dane Siegfried said. The rec center is beginning to offer workout classes.
The rec center attendants are good resources for students because almost all of the fitness attendants are kinesiology majors, and intend to work careers around fitness and human movement, he said.
The rec center offers a swimming pool, a climbing wall, weight rooms, cardio areas, basketball courts and fitness classes.
“What’s great about our facility is that you can really do something different each day and we see students take advantage of that,” Siegfried said.
It can be a lot for some students. Second-year Kaitlyn Barnack doesn’t go to the rec center that often.
“Sometimes I don’t go because I find the rec center gym kind of intimidating,” Barnack said.
She recommended that the rec center could advertise what they offer to students.
Third-year Nina Claflin had an opportunity to see the rec center before COVID-19 hit during her first year. Claflin and Siegfried both agreed the rec center is a great place to establish friendships and meet people.
Bellingham Athletic club worker Owen Morrison gets to see up close the community a small gym builds.
“Our gym has created its own little community with like-minded people trying to better themselves and become healthier,” Morrison said.
The rec center lobby just opened up for students to hang out and do homework for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“I remember my freshman year when I used to come here, the whole lobby was packed, like every couch seat was taken,” Claflin said.
She hopes to see that again.
Claflin has had a lot of time to use the rec center successfully and gave some tips.
“Don’t be afraid to go to certain areas,” she said. “Especially if it’s your first time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just try to enjoy it as best you can because the workers are here to help you. I feel like it is a very inclusive environment so try and get involved.”
Drew McFall (He/him) is a sports and recreation writer for the Western Front this quarter. He is a news editorial major with a minor in communications. He wants to be a sports journalist or broadcaster. As a reporter, he wants to focus on WWU sports teams and players. In his free time, he loves watching sports, playing sports, and running on trails.