The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The new Pottruck Fitness Center will add 65,000 square feet to the current Gimbel gymnasium. Work on the Pottruck Center is rapidly approaching an early fall completion date, which is earlier than anticipated.[Ben Rosenau/The Summer Pennsylvanian]

As of this fall, students who want to jog on a treadmill or ride on a stationary bike won't have to brave the stifling heat of the unairconditioned Hutchenson Gymnasium any longer.

Nor will they have to wait in long lines to use elliptical trainers in a basketball court-turned workout room in Gimbal Gymnasium.

In fact, the impending opening of the David S. Pottruck Health and Fitness Center, the concept of working out will no longer conjure up thoughts of sweating buckets and enduring cramped conditions -- instead, going to the gym might end up being fun.

Just over two years after breaking ground on the $23.8 million building, administrators are confident that Pottruck will be ready to open its doors to the University community at some point this fall, bringing a new face to Penn Recreation with it.

"This is really going to come together in the next few weeks," Project Executive Director Frank Daly said. "We have moved up the opening from December to early September."

Currently, the building is in its last stages of the construction process, as workers are painting the ceilings, finishing off drywall and putting in flooring units and glass windows.

But according to Athletic Director Michael Diorka, the bulk of the construction -- which has included the installation of a high tech air conditioning system and plumbing and electrical systems -- is already taken care of.

"Everything's just sitting there all on a schedule," Diorka said. "There's more sets of eyeballs on that building than one can imagine."

And when the facility is finally complete, administrators are confident that the final product will be well worth the wait.

"Each day I see the building, I see somebody or someone getting a value out of this or adding value to the Ivy League education," Diorka said. "We have a little bit of everything for everyone."

Complete with 17,000 square feet of fitness space, a multi-projector golf simulator and a co-ed sauna, Pottruck's facilities will be adjoined to Gimbal Gymnasium's Olympic-sized pool and basketball courts.

"The intention of the design was to contrast the style of Gimbal to a totally different vocabulary," Vice President for Facilities and Real Estate Omar Blaik said. "Instead of using a vertical structure, there are horizontal plates and a whole lot of fenestration."

Pottruck will also boast a series of workout rooms and classrooms, not to mention a climbing wall, a juice bar and a pro shop.

Starting on the ground level, there will be an open cardiovascular facility complete with treadmills, rowing machines, stationary bikes and other workout machines.

The entire second floor will be devoted to a weight room featuring the latest selectorized training equipment, and the top two levels will host a number of separate fitness facilities.

"The third and fourth level rooms will be places where you can get your free weight, your selectorized and your cardio," Diorka said. "They're almost like mini little fitness centers."

But the "fun" part of working out will come from the fact that the exercise facilities in Pottruck have been designed to look out on the entire campus through an extensive series of panoramic windows.

"It's like being in a shopping mall -- as you walk down the hall, you can look directly into the rooms and see the activities that are going on," Diorka said. "And while you're working out, you're not looking at a wall with a mirror -- you're going to be really amazed with the view you get."

Moreover, a state-of-the-art sound system has been installed in the complex, which will allow people to choose the music that they want to listen to while lifting, running or doing any number of other activities.

Yet Diorka stressed that in spite of the building's state of the art facilities, Pottruck will be much more than a commercialized fitness center.

"If you go down to Sweat or Bally's, they're exercise centers -- they're not as complete as we are," Diorka said. "They do have aerobics and spinning and we're going to do that also, but that's just one component of the areas of campus recreation."

And while the new center has tacked $200 on to student tuition fees, Blaik said that Pottruck would be more than worth the price tag attached to it.

"In terms of what the value is, this is a state-of-the-art quality facility, and probably the best found in the Ivy League," Blaik said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.