Rec center sets new tone

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Courtesy photo/TWU
The grand opening for the new Texas Woman’s University Fitness and
Recreation Center was on Friday, but the facility has remained popular
with students since it opened at the start of the semester.
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None of the facilities where Olympic gold medalist Louise Ritter worked out while she was at Texas Woman's University in the 1980s is on campus any longer. But new buildings, such as the Fitness and Recreation Center, have been added.

The 40,000-square-foot facility includes a cardiovascular exercise room, weight room, three studio spaces for group exercise and an outdoor adventure area. It also has regulation-size basketball and volleyball courts as well as a 30-foot indoor climbing wall.

John Cissik, director of the center, said the facility has been busy since it opened at the start of the semester. The center sees as much activity in a day as the previous facility saw in a week. The previous facility, a space that was converted from dorm rooms in Jones Hall, was less than half the size of the new building.

Cissik told the more than 170 attendees that as TWU tested equipment for the facility over the past three years, it was considering the future and how rapidly equipment changes.

He said with the infrastructure that's in place, the university will be able to keep up.

"We're trying to balance out the present with the future," Cissik said.

The new building even has university Chancellor Ann Stuart working out.

"I have a personal trainer, and she is tough," Stuart joked during the ceremony.

Stuart said it's helpful that the new facility is in the center of campus, on the corner of Bell Avenue and Chapel Drive, near the residence halls.

"It isn't off in the corner of campus," she said.

Also at Friday's ceremony, Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, talked about starting his education at the College of Industrial Arts Demonstration School that was once housed at the campus.

He said access to facilities like the new recreation center is important and utilizing them is critical.

"Changing lives is what it's all about," Burgess said.

Other speakers included former TWU Regent Harry Crumpacker and current Regent Sue Bancroft as well as former students Lindsey Hatter and Christianne Price.

Hatter and Price both returned to work at TWU after graduation. Hatter is the assistant director of the center for student development and Price is the coordinator of continuing education in the department of lifelong learning.

Hatter, who was president of the student government association in 2005 and 2006 when students voted on implementing a fee for the new center, said the student government felt it was important to support the building from the beginning.

"TWU fosters an environment where students feel comfortable enough to dream big," Hatter said.

And, she said, the university gives students the tools to make those dreams happen.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is

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