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SUNY Plattsburgh Opens Satellite Fitness Center In Renovated Hood Hall

Willie Santana and Guy Burkhart stopped by the new fitness center on the first floor of the recently refurbished Hood Hall to help each other on the weight bench.

“This is so much easier,” said Burkhart, a sophomore criminal justice major from Cornwall, N.Y., as he adjusted his iPod ear buds. He and Santana, a sophomore journalism major from Brooklyn, are Hood Hall residents. “It’s really convenient, and it’s really not a bad gym for being in a residence hall.”

Grand Opening of New Workout Space

The center had its official grand opening Tuesday, Aug. 28, with a ribbon cutting and reception attended by President John Ettling and other campus administrators and fitness center personnel.

“Having a center in the residence hall at this end of campus is a nice benefit for on-campus students,” said Matt Salvatore, fitness center director. Open to on-campus students who are Memorial Hall fitness center members, the residence hall site has an intimacy that Salvatore said may attract students who might otherwise feel intimidated or crowded at the main location.

“The hours are different from those at Memorial,” Salvatore said. “The weekend is always very busy at Memorial. It’ll be interesting to see if we get more members in here during the weekend. We typically get 60 percent of the student body joining the fitness center. If there are 200 residents in Hood Hall, that would be 120 people. That number alone would keep this up and running.”

You ‘Don’t Have to Leave the House’

Santana and Burkhart were members of the fitness center as freshmen and had to make plans to get to Memorial Hall, know when the busy times were and plan around equipment that was busy and in use. Now, they’re liking the convenience of just heading downstairs for their workout.

“You don’t have to leave the house,” Burkhart said with a laugh.

When Memorial is busy, “you had to wait for equipment, or you’d leave or go on to do something else (at the gym),” Santana said. “This is so much better.”

Foundation Supports Student-Life Enrichment

Funds from the Plattsburgh College Foundation helped pay for equipment in the center.

Anne Hansen, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the foundation, said of the $500,000 raised annually for unrestricted gifts, 10 percent is used for student-life and academic enrichment projects.

“We try to select projects that have an impact on as many students as possible,” Hansen said. “This facility was a perfect project for the foundation to get behind.” The $24,000 provided by the foundation “helped us buy a higher level of equipment than we would have otherwise been able to provide.”

The satellite center offers treadmills, an arc trainer, stationary bikes and free weights, among other equipment.  It is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 11 a.m. and again from 4 to 10 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m.; Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.; and Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.

Michelle Gatien, a senior majoring in fitness and wellness leadership, works the desk at the Hood Hall center. Gatien said she can see the benefits of having a satellite location for the residents not just in Hood but the surrounding residence halls as well.

“It’s so close for these dorms,” she said with a sweeping gesture to the halls within view outside the floor-to-ceiling windows. “If Memorial is busy, or as it gets colder, these students on campus will have the benefit of being able to just come down stairs or just walk next door. As the year goes on, students who use this facility will also be able to tell when it’s the best time. They always have the option of going down to Memorial Hall.”

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