Marino Recreation Center and SquashBusters Center will be reopening on Northeastern’s Boston campus on September 11, 2020. Visitors will instantly notice the changes that have been made to both recreation centers to promote safety for everyone on campus and in the surrounding communities.
Some of the exercise machines have been shifted onto the basketball courts at Marino, in order to provide a minimum of 14 feet between stations. Each facility will operate at no more than 40 percent of normal capacity.
Masks must be worn by guests throughout their workouts, which must be reserved in advance via the Atleto app. Lockers, showers, hair dryers, and saunas will not be available.
“Nothing is the same, almost,” says Omar Rouhana, Northeastern’s associate director of university recreation-business and technology. He encourages guests to visit the campus recreation website for details and video tours of the reconfigured facilities.
Providing access to individual workouts is an important part of Northeastern’s phased reopening, says Madeleine Estabrook, senior vice chancellor for student affairs at Northeastern.
“Reopening our recreation facilities is another way in which we are making the well-being and safety of Northeastern a priority,” Estabrook says. “Recreation and fitness activities encourage students to care for their physical and mental health. Students report a variety of benefits from participating in campus recreation programs, including feelings of physical well-being, stress reduction, respect for others, friendships, and self-confidence.”
Athletics and recreation, in consultation with campus planning, have been developing plans for the recreation centers for the past six months in concert with the university’s overall reopening strategy.
“We think it’s a good time to reopen because the Northeastern community has been able to go through the initial rounds of COVID-19 testing on campus,” says Jeff Konya, Northeastern’s athletic director. “The recreation staff has been able to train the employees with respect to the new procedures and protocols that we’re going to have in both Marino and SquashBusters, which allows us to provide a service to the Northeastern community in a safe way.”
Marino has been divided into four zones. Guests will reserve a workout at one zone per day. There will be room for 90 guests per hour at Marino, and 10 guests per hour at SquashBusters. Areas of each center will be shut down periodically throughout the day to allow for deep cleanings by Northeastern staff.
Both facilities will be open Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
The Cabot Center track, turf field, and the swimming pool will remain closed to the public (though these facilities may be available to varsity student-athletes on a limited basis after COVID-19 testing protocols have been met).
Konya notes that regular exercise can help members of the Northeastern community deal with the stress of the COVID-19 era—but the workouts must be done in a healthy environment, in recognition of public health and safety protocols.
“This is the new normal,” Konya says.