Three levels of exercise possibilities meet nearly every need

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CDT; updated 12:43 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 30, 2009
The MU Student Recreation Complex, at 300,000 square feet of space, offers plenty of exercise opportunities to students and faculty. It was ranked No. 1 campus recreation facility in America by Sports Illustrated.

Gym junkie or not, it’s easy to see why Sports Illustrated chose the MU Student Recreation Complex as the No. 1 campus recreation facility in America.

You can’t possibly miss it — it’s 300,000 square feet of space.


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"It’s a beautiful gym," graduate student Anastasia Kononova said. "It has everything you need. We’re so lucky to have something like this in the Midwest."

The Student Recreation Complex at Rollins Avenue and Hitt Street has four distinct facilities: Rothwell Gymnasium, Brewer Fieldhouse, the Recreation Center and the Aquatic Complex. The swimming facilities were added in a $50 million renovation expansion project that was completed in July 2005. 

Freshmen enrolled in six or more hours of coursework per week have the recreation fee automatically charged to their accounts.

"There are so many options here," Walter Cunningham IV said. "Use everything that’s offered. You’ve already paid for it."

"Talk to the student staff if you have a certain interest in something," said Laura Salerno, the assistant director of membership and events. "Don’t be afraid to ask them anything. Then explore the place and have fun."

On average, 4,000 to 6,000 people use the facilities each day.

"In August, we get upwards of 7,000 (people per day) before students get bogged down with school work," Salerno said. Patrons spend 1.5 to two hours at the facility, though this increases during school breaks.

It’s a good idea to avoid going during peak times to reduce lines in fitness areas, Salerno said.

"It’s busy early in the morning, and after lunch from 2 or 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., it’s pretty hard core," she said. There’s also less congestion when the semester is in full swing.

Students and staff offer these additional tips for making the most of the complex:

  • Get in here as much as possible, junior Matthew Poehler advised. "But don’t forget your student ID. They’re strict on that."
  • Always wear tennis shoes, staff member Jennifer Berry said.
  • "Lock up your belongings — I can’t emphasize that enough," said Jessica Kibbe, facility coordinator. Gregg Johnson agreed: "Bring your own lock and don’t leave anything lying around. A lot of things get taken, and people are always surprised when it happens to them."
  • Try to have a solid workout regime, or else it’ll be a waste of time, said Patrick Dyer, a certified personal trainer. "Contact us if you need help, or educate yourself with the material on the Internet."
  • Join rec or club sports, Salerno said. There are about 50 organizations to join, including basketball, soccer, bass fishing, medieval sporting, paintball and dance.

Recreation Complex hours for fall 2009 and spring 2010

Monday-Thursday: 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Friday: 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 11 p.m.

For the most up-to-date schedule, go to

What students love about the rec center:

  • Joo-Young Kim, senior: "I like the pool — the whirlpool especially, that’s kind of cool. And the sauna too."
  • Abigail Zepeda, junior: "I think the best feature is that there’s a lot of room. And probably the pool — I’m a diver."
  • Chris Mathis, junior: "I like how the center is large enough to accommodate most students, even though it does get busy."
  • Amit Vyawahare, graduate student: "I like the racquetball, squash and basketball courts. It’s awesome here — it’s really big."
  • Alex Rigazio, senior: "The variety of things to do and the atmosphere. It’s also a good way to meet people."
  • Jose Francisco Castejon Villalobos, exchange student: "I like the track and the outdoor swimming pool."


Brewer Station

Go to Brewer Station if you need first aid. Also, you can check out basketballs, volleyballs, soccer balls, footballs, Swiss balls, medicine balls, jump ropes and towels. 

Pump Room

This room is stacked with rows of free weights. It offers platform weight-lifting and an exercise-inducing sound system. 

You can schedule a complimentary one-hour orientation session to introduce you to the equipment by contacting Tiger Training at 882-7842 or

Scroggs Peak & Brewer Butte

Scroggs is a 42-foot tower molded to replicate real rock surfaces around Columbia. Or try the Butte, a 180-square-foot boulder wall with routes that change regularly to help increase power and technique.

To climb requires attending a free class for belay certification, passing a 10-15 minute test and paying an annual fee of $35.

Indoor courts

Rent a ball for free, make a team and play on any of the 10 indoor courts.

Racquet sport courts

Play in one of four racquetball courts or the squash court.

50-meter pool & dive well

If you’re into lap swimming, this world-class, Olympic-sized pool is the perfect place. International swimming championships are held here, and Michael Phelps broke his own record in this pool.

Truman’s Pond

This outdoor pool area can provide relief on hot days.

Tiger Grotto

This water park was reportedly modeled after the pool in the Playboy Mansion. It has a high-powered vortex, river and waterfall. There’s also a whirlpool, hot tub, sauna and steam room.

Locker rooms

Store your belongings in one of the 150 lockers, but bring a lock. Showers and bathrooms are located inside.

Rothwell Club

Join the Rothwell Club for an extra $16 a month to access a large changing room, lined with mahogany private lockers, large mirrors, shampoo, body wash, lotion, towels, mouthwash and hair dryers as well as three lounges with flat-screen TVs and a secret exit.


Jungle Lobby

The jungle-themed lobby can be used as an alternative study space, hang-out spot or computer station.

Jungle Gym & Bar

At least 100 cardio machines are available in the gym. Treadmills are iPod-compatible, and 20 have flat screens and DVD players.

There are also ellipticals, steppers, video-game bikes, and more than 50 plate-loaded weight machines. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing and wipe down the equipment after use.

If you’re running low on energy, refuel at the bar with  fitness drinks, protein supplements and power bars available by student charge.

Quiet Room

Yes, there's a silent area without the throb of tunes to distract the serious gym-goer. You could even potentially bring your textbooks and multitask.


Indoor Track

The indoor track that snakes around the courts. Twelve laps equals a mile.

TigerX Studios

For $49 a semester or $7 per class, you can do a Booty Call cardio session, a vinyasa yoga class or Tiger Pump to improve your strength. Choose from more than 100 classes and make sure you arrive at least five minutes beforehand. You can also enroll in health and performance classes to learn street hip-hop and bellydancing.

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