New outdoor exercise court opens on campus

Apr. 17—CHAMPAIGN — A new outdoor Fitness Court Studio featuring workout equipment and a multi-use area had its grand opening on E. Gregory on Tuesday.

It'll be open 24/7 (unless someone has reserved the space) and was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign.

Alana Harris, associate director of Assessment and Student Wellness for Campus Recreation, said Campus Rec had been looking for ways to reduce barriers to fitness infrastructure, which aligns with the goals of the National Fitness Campaign.

"We were prepared to do some renovations on some existing basketball courts anyway, so doing those projects at the same time made a lot of fiscal sense for us," she said.

The concept of outdoor fitness equipment has been around for a long time but really started taking off during the pandemic.

Harris said this will be the first facility of its kind in a higher education setting in Illinois.

The National Fitness Campaign also provided the design for the court, so it comes with features like a site you can pull up on your phone for different guided workouts to follow.

There is also a description of how to use the equipment printed on the dividing wall between the equipment and the multi-use area.

Students have been "excited about what it looks like and the opportunity it affords," Harris said, though the court is open to anyone, not just students.

Alongside the actual court, this new area includes solar tables funded by an internal grant of $10,000 from the UI's Student Sustainability Committee.

Harris said that since that area was previously a basketball court, there wasn't much in the way of shade.

"Those solar tables will provide some refuge from the sun when it gets really hot out there in the middle of the summer," she said.

They'll also provide a place to charge your phone — perhaps to see those guided workouts.