As students began returning to campus to start their spring semester, they were welcomed by a gated parking lot and machines ready to revamp the athletic center. For years, students have been hopeful about the new changes and eagerly awaiting the project. Finally, the time has come and sections of the Bell Center are undergoing construction.

The 15 month project will consist of new locker rooms, a newly enhanced gym, a weight room and a cardio room with brand new equipment.

“What I’m most excited about is the new weight rooms and the new cardio room,” said Julie Jenkins, head volleyball coach and associate director of athletics. “We have had to use limited space in the past for both. The old cardio room was in a dance studio which wasn’t ideal.  And our current weight room is overcrowded, so it will be nice for our students to have two weight rooms.”

Although it was started later than anticipated, the goal is to have the student performance center’s changes completed by the end of the semester which will consist of new weights and a larger space for students to workout. The locker rooms and Sam’s Gym, which will be renamed to Calgaard’s Gym, are scheduled to be finished before the beginning of next summer.

What most students are most looking forward to is the new, two-story fitness center that will be located at the front of the Bell Center. The area will have more space for more activities and brand new weights, weight machines and cardio machines. A dance studio will be included so students can do more group exercises along with a study room, where students can utilize their short break before or after practice or their workout.

One challenge athletes have faced is the tight, compact weight room and being able to utilize the space to help reach their full potential. Bigger teams such as football, in particular, struggle to fit all of their players in the space and are limited to the amount of weightlifting any given individual can partake in during their practice.

“I’m looking most forward to the new athlete weight room,” sophomore football player Gavin Huse said. “It’s something that we use almost on a daily basis both in and out of season. It will hopefully help us individually reach our physical potential and ultimately the team.”

The Bell Center is not only a place where students workout. It is a place that represents the successes that the school has had over the years. In the 2015-2016 season, Trinity won 12 out of 18 SCAC championships. They also have been the winners of the Presidential Trophy for their athletic accomplishments for five consecutive years.

“The Bell Center is already a great facility and is being made better,” associate director of Athletics for Facilities and Event Management Seth Ashbury said. “This renovation enhances our campus community’s ability to improve health and wellness. It also becomes a show piece for recruiting students, much like the CSI renovation.”

Despite the frustration that students and faculty have towards not finding a parking spot or having to walk around the entire parking lot to get to the Bell Center, it is constant reminder about the final product will benefit everyone at the university.

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