November 18, 1999
A decade of health and fitness will be marked this month, as the Reily Student Recreation Center celebrates its 10th anniversary.
"The Reily Center has changed the whole culture of campus," says Bill Canning, associate vice president for auxiliary services and campus recreation. "From the very beginning, it has been a major meeting place and an important source for student employment on campus. There hasn't been a prospective student or family that hasn't toured the center during a look at campus."
Operated as an auxiliary university enterprise, the Reily Center is funded through student fees as well as memberships available to part-time students, faculty and staff and their families, alumni, and members of the community. More than 2,500 members pass through the doors of the 150,000-square-foot facility each day, says Canning.
The center includes racquetball and squash courts, a weight-lifting center, a 50-meter indoor pool, three full basketball courts that double as volleyball courts, two smaller gyms, a 1/8-mile indoor track overlooking the main gym, two multi-purpose rooms used for classes and short courses, and an outdoor pool and sun deck.
The center also sponsors or hosts club and intramural sports teams, a fitness and wellness program, numerous non-credit short and semester-long courses, and programming for children. Joining in on fitness and recreation wasn't always so easy on the Tulane campus, notes Canning. He remembers a time before the Reily Center opened when students lifted weights on a couple of outdated Universal machines in the old Newcomb Gym and used dumbbells stored in a grocery shopping cart. Aerobic classes bounced between the University Center, the stage of McAlister Hall and the Monroe Quad.
"The Reily Center is more than its bricks and mortar," says Canning, pointing out that 400 members who joined in 1989 are still members 10 years later. "It's the programs, the classes and the people that really make it what it is."
The Reily Center houses the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine and the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences. It also hosts rehabilitation programs for cardiac, arthritis and multiple sclerosis patients and annual special events such as the Louisiana Special Olympics and the International Wheelchair Games.
"The center offers students a different opportunity to interact on campus," Canning says. "You can look in the weight room, the pool or one of the gyms and see freshmen, deans, custodians, board members and faculty all exercising together, and everyone looks the same when they're standing in their T-shirts and tennis shoes."
The Reily Center's 10th anniversary will be officially celebrated Jan. 19, with a daylong series of events and open house for all students, faculty and staff. (Inside Tulane, 1/01/99)
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