COOKEVILLE – The clanking of weights and the splashing of pool water in the new Marc L. Burnette Fitness and Recreation Center are welcomed sounds to students at Tennessee Tech.
The new 157,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is now open to students, faculty, staff, retired faculty and staff and Tech graduates.
“The opening of a new building is always thrilling,” said Aaron Lay, an agriculture communications major from Madisonville. “However, all of the upgrades and new opportunities that students will have to further their physical fitness is extremely exciting.”
Student fees funded the beautiful and massive new facility located on the corner of 7th Street and Willow Avenue. In November 2013, a majority of students voted to approve a $100 per semester fee to replace the old fitness center with a new one. The vote was a product of a bill passed unanimously by the student government association.
“From an SGA point of view, it is amazing to be serving in my capacity during the opening of this building that the Student Government Association played a massive role in,” said Lay, who is the current SGA president. “I know that previous SGA administrations poured a lot of effort into this opportunity for students. The new fit is student funded and student centered. This addition to campus certainly encompasses the student first mentality that Tennessee Tech continues to pour out.”
The new facility is twice the size of the old facility, which was built in 1991. David Mullinax, the director of recreation at Tennessee Tech, was involved in the building of the old fitness center and is happy to see the new facility come to fruition.
“I think this will have a major impact on campus,” said Mullinax. “I have taken several students through it and every time I do, they are like children in a candy store. They just don’t know which piece to get.”
An attractive, inviting facility, students can enjoy a huge basketball gym and a multi-activity center, racquetball courts, retractable bleachers for spectators, a 13,000-square-foot weight room, 6,000-square-foot cardio room, climbing wall, golf simulator, elevated track, aquatic center, game room, expanded child care, outdoor camping equipment and rental programs.
“We’ve added quite a few new things and upgraded what we had,” said Mullinax. “There are a lot of things different. We have added a lot of new programs besides just space.”
Mullinax said that not all areas of the building are open because of the coronavirus. The track, cardio room, weight room and pool are currently open, and he anticipates trying to get everything else open when the fall semester begins on Aug. 24.
Even with a partial opening, Mullinax sees the benefit the new fitness center will have in attracting new students to Tech.
“Students think this will be a real drawing card for recruiting and getting their friends to come,” Mullinax said. “One of our goals was to present something that is special on our campus.”
A full interview with Mullinax discussing the new fitness center can be listened to on this week’s Tennessee Tech Today show at https://www.tntech.edu/news/files/TNTech_Today_Show_7-10-20.mp3.
For more information on the Marc L. Burnett Fitness and Recreation Center, go to https://www.tntech.edu/recreation/fitnesscenter/index.php.