With the calendar’s turn to 2018, construction on the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center is in the home stretch.
What began as a student-led effort to create an on-campus wellness center – a haven for students looking to workout, grab lunch or just hang out – is now a towering building on the northwest edge of campus.
Students, faculty and staff will want to circle May on their calendar. That’s when the 85,000-square-foot, three-story center with a focus on holistic wellness is scheduled to open. The facility will soon pulsate with the sound of thumping basketballs on gym floors, splashes in the six-lane pool and dings of microwave ovens in the Posner Family Kitchen. Windows have been installed, and a recent tour offered a preview of the stunning downtown and mountain views that center users will enjoy.
One such area – the third-floor “Movement Loft,” which offers a panoramic view of the Tivoli Quad, Platte Valley and Front Range – will feature exercise equipment as well as lounging chairs. Pointing out how the Loft opens onto a spacious outdoor terrace, Amber Long, executive director of the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center, noted that the overlook will be a popular place to eat, relax and even participate in sunset yoga. “We want this to be a welcoming environment where anyone would want to hang out,” she said.
The same could be said for the ample and varied fitness spaces and homey touches – living room-like lounges – on every floor. A signature feature – a 38-foot climbing wall fronted by towering windows – is in place, starting on the second floor and traveling skyward. “It’s a defining feature, and its visibility is really cool,” Long said. “As people drive south on Speer Boulevard they’ll see the huge climbing wall lit up in our black-and-gold CU Denver colors.”
With the center’s opening on the horizon, Long said, “We’re looking for lots of student employees — everything from personal trainers to students to work at the front desk.” Applications will begin to be taken on Feb. 1, and students can apply through the Handshake Job Board. Wellness and Recreation Services will also be available to answer questions about all the positions available at the Career Center’s career fair on Feb. 20.
Following is a floor-by-floor tour of the amenities that CU Denver students have longed to call their own.
- Welcome desk and gym equipment checkout.
- Posner Family Kitchen, including food-preparation areas, microwave ovens, a big-screen projector and cooking demonstrations.
- Four study rooms, including projection capabilities for group study.
- Electronics charge bar.
- Coffee shop and lounge area.
- Outdoor adventure center (camping equipment, climbing gear, snowshoes, etc. available for checkout).
- Bike shop (part of the outdoor adventure center).
- Strength training area.
- Six-lane swimming pool and hot tub.
- Fully-appointed locker rooms.
- Three-court gymnasium – both wood and multi-activity courts (MAC).
- “The Lens.” A giant wall-to-wall window that provides a stellar skyline view. The Lens is fronted by a long seating bench on the north side of the gym.
- “The Den” – a game room to be equipped with foosball, video games, etc.
- Administrative offices.
- Cardio-fitness area – treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowing machines, etc.
- Bouldering wall and climbing wall.
Third floor (wellness-specific floor):
- Mezzanine with quiet fitness space and views of the gym.
- Two fitness studios. One for mind-body and indoor cycling formats, the other for cardio- and strength-training classes. Group fitness classes will be free for students and members.
- Two meditation/reflection rooms.
- Quiet/rest room complete with five chaise lounge chairs for napping.
- “Solution rooms” where students can meet with center staff members to address their needs pertaining to the seven dimensions of wellness (social, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial and creative).
- Food pantry, which will move from the Tivoli.
- Personal training suite – for 1:1 consultations, assessments and guidance with NCCA-accredited personal trainers and health coaches.
- Movement Loft – will feature functional training equipment and house the GT45 (group training in 45 minutes) semi-private personal training program.
- Terrace patio.
The Loft and outdoor terrace are among the features that complete the original design conceptualized by the Student Wellness Center Oversight Committee, which is made up of university stakeholders and student leaders. These features, among others, were made possible by part of the $10 million gift recently given to the center by Denver philanthropists Lola and Rob Salazar.
GROUNDSWELL OF SUPPORT FROM THE START
The CU Board of Regents approved the Student Wellness Center in spring 2015, after the student vote that drew a record-setting 20 percent turnout and a landslide 61 percent victory. Construction has been underway ever since. Students who have paid the Student Wellness Center fee from spring 2015 to spring 2018 will have access to the facility for the number of semesters they paid the fee. One semester is equal to four months of facility access.
Before the facility opens, the center offers weekly wellness programs.
It’s essential for students to have a restful, reviving and recreation-oriented landing spot before, between and after classes, according to Long. “This will be a welcoming place students can enjoy every day – they will get to hang out and have a place to feel connected,” Long said. “It’s my goal that each and every student at some point in their time at CU Denver walks through the doors and utilizes our services.”
‘Sense of community’
Student fees cover access to the facility by current CU Denver students. Memberships will also be available to university faculty and staff as well as alumni and their sponsored guests. Long said membership information will be released by March.
Long said it’s exciting to see how the Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center is generating a buzz on campus as it nears completion. “I’m especially excited by the sense of community the center will create on this campus,” she said.