GAC goes world class

The extensively renovated Ganus Activities Complex opened Sunday, Aug. 21, just in time for the start of fall classes the next day. The upgraded facility is the keystone of the University’s new initiative to provide recreation opportunities to students, embodying its core objectives of personal growth and substantive learning.

The complex includes the Jim Citty Football and Athletic Training Center, kinesiology and exercise and sports sciences classrooms, and the new Suzanne and Rodney Waller Recreation Center, which was made possible through a significant gift from the Waller family. According to Dr. Stephen Burks, chairman of the department of kinesiology, transforming an athletic building into a recreation facility brought its share of challenges — but the end result was well worth the effort.

“We’ve done a lot for the flexibility and versatility of the building in the things we added,” Burks said.


Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Tom Ritchie who serves as recreation director was heavily involved in the development of the new and improved recreation center, which includes a two-story weight room with state of the art Matrix plate-loaded weight machines and Troy-brand Olympic free weights — each piece emblazoned with the Bison logo. There is also an array of cardio equipment including elliptical, treadmill and stair machines with built-in TVs and virtual trainers. Other features include refurbished racquetball courts, a suspended track, new restrooms and locker rooms, an indoor cycling room, a billiards room, pingpong tables, new floors and basketball goals, as well as new partitioning curtains to separate multiple basketball and volleyball courts. Classes have been added to provide more group exercise options for the campus community including indoor cycling, Zumba and yoga.

Braden Henderson, a 2014 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management, was hired in the newly created role of recreation center manager for the facility. “I love watching people’s reactions the first time they come in and see it,” Henderson said. “It’s just such an upgrade, and our students really deserve something like this so they don’t have to go to another place
to work out.”

Senior Brooke Kehl, a leadership and ministry major, recently began the HU Walking Club for female students.


“The GAC renovations have created a more inviting fitness center for everyone at Harding to engage in an active lifestyle,” she said. “The natural light and amazing views from the big windows make the GAC a warm and welcoming place to gather with friends and get moving.”

That’s just the reaction Burks was hoping for.

Categories: Features.

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