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A rendering of the new fitness center that is in the works at the University of Tampa Image courtesy of the University of Tampa
<p>A rendering of the new fitness center that is in the works at the University of Tampa (Image courtesy of the University of Tampa.<em>)</em></p>

University of Tampa Begins Construction on New Fitness Center

The new 60,000-square-foot fitness center at the University of Tampa&nbsp;will be eight times larger than the existing fitness center.

The University of Tampa has announced plans to begin construction immediately on a new campus fitness center. The facility will be built in two phases and will eventually provide 60,000 square feet of space for health and fitness activities.

That is about eight times larger than the existing facility, the McNiff Fitness Center.

"For the first time, we will have the fitness equipment and space our students need,” says Stephanie Russell Krebs, dean of students.

Phase I will consist of 40,000 square feet on two floors and is scheduled to be completed in 2016. When that is completed, the McNiff facility will be razed. The university will expand the center by 20,000 square feet in Phase II.

University officials say the center will have six group exercise rooms, including one group cycling room. Two small fitness assessment rooms have been incorporated in the floor plan, as well as a flexible classroom to accommodate educational and training functions. Treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, free weights and other fitness equipment will also be available.

University of Tampa students have been eager for a new fitness center, Krebs says.

"We believe this center will be beneficial in so many ways and will further enrich students’ UT experience," she says.

The building will have high ceilings, open rooms and extensive use of glass to let in sunlight and provide a connection to the outdoors. The open floor plan is intended to enhance visibility, foster social interaction and build community. It will be designed and constructed to meet the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. If successful, it will be the university's fourth LEED-certified building.

The lead architect on the project is Eric Kreher of Kreher Architects Inc.

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