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Empty Aquatic Center Presents Fitness Upgrade

Officials at Northwest have proposed turning the former Foster Aquatic Center into a new student fitness facility.
(MARYVILLE, Mo.) The student fitness center at Northwest isn't a bright spot on campus.

"It's not up to date. It's not very big. There's a lot of 'nots'," Northwest Student Senate President Cody Uhing said.

Now the fitness center could be headed toward an upgrade.

The athletic department at Northwest is working on plans to transform the former Foster Aquatic Center into the students new workout haven.

"It's something our students deserve," athletic director Mel Tjeerdsma said. "It's something our students need. We care about the health and welfare of our students."

The preliminary renovation plans would add nearly 2,800 square-feet to the old aquatic center extending it toward Colden Pond. The move would also create space for new locker rooms in the bottom floor of Lamkin Activity Center.

To fund the improvements, there's a proposed four dollar per credit hour fee that the student senate will vote on this spring.

"For the people who do enjoy working out, I don't think four dollars per credit hour is going to make a huge difference. I think it'll be 100-percent worth it," Alex Mortallaro -- a junior at Northwest -- said.

The focus right now is on a new fitness facility for students, but there's also an expectation around Bearcat sports for a new indoor athletic facility. That's something that Tjeerdsma says is already in the works.

"There's no doubt that's in the future. How close in the future...we definitely have plans of what we want to do," Tjeerdsma said. "We're waiting on somethings with our foundation right now, but once they get finalized that will probably be the next project we'll be looking at."

A renovated fitness center is just the first of many changes coming as Northwest tries to stay ahead of the curve.

"Everything's competitive right now. We have to keep up. We have to have things that will attract students. From an athletics standpoint, you don't want to get left behind."
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