Anyone who has ventured into the University of Dallas Fitness Center recently would have immediately noticed several conspicuous changes to the space. The new coat of paint on the walls, rearranged equipment and new squat rack are hard to miss. The updates have been a long time coming according to Tim Schlich, residence coordinator.
Schlich has worked for UD as an RC for the past two years where he also heads the Fitness Center for the Office of Student Affairs. Passionate about weightlifting since his mid teens, he saw a need for renovation in the UD weightroom: “The gym has been in pretty rough shape for a long time. With as many athletes as we have at UD, it’s a shame that our gym is so small,” he said. “Over the past six months, I’ve been getting rid of what’s broken and what’s not there, [and] we’ve been replacing it with functional equipment.”
Some of the biggest additions include a new power rack, deadlift platform, bench press and heavier dumbbells. The water fountains inside have also been fixed while the walls sport a fresh coat of paint.
Schlich also emphasized how many people were involved in the process and credits Dr. Gregory Roper, dean of students; Jarred Samples, director of athletics; the facilities department, OSA and one particular student with getting the renovations underway.
Liam Hamway, sophomore computer science major and track and field athlete, played a crucial role in kick starting the gym renovation process. As a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for athletes, Hamway approached the president and vice president about the updates. “I said, ‘I have an idea about changing the school for the better. I want to improve the weight room.’”
Hamway met with numerous administrators to pitch the idea and determine what would be best for the students. He does not take full credit for starting the renovations, however. “It all comes down to everybody operating as a team. I couldn’t have done what I did without Dr. Roper and Tim and everyone else involved,” he said.
Hamway’s passion for weightlifting makes him especially well suited to working on improvements to the fitness center. “He’s someone who cares a lot about lifting, wants to see the space improved, and has been involved with helping other students learn how to lift,” Schlich said. “I’ve been asking [Hamway’s] advice along the way.”
Hamway’s love of weightlifting began in high school and spurred his involvement in the UD Fitness Center. “Whenever I was stressed out I always felt called to go work out and put my effort towards something. It was a very quantifiable way of seeing progress in myself,” he said.
Both Schlich and Hamway hope that updating the gym will reinvigorate enthusiasm for the space. “I’m seeing a lot more students in the gym,” Hamway said. “Even those who haven’t really lifted in their life decide to get into the gym and start going consistently, because it’s something that is just so important for not only your body but your mind.”
Updating the Fitness Center is part of a larger, long term effort to give more attention to the athletics department that was lacking in the past. “Giving the gym the facelift it has now and making it fresher, it helps [something] students, because it just looks presentable,” Schlich said. These updates will begin the process of offering sufficient resources to support both athletes and non-athletes and are expected to be finished by the end of the semester.
To students like Hamway, physical fitness is about something bigger than muscles. It’s about the fitness of the mind. “[Working out] is a major help to mental health, and especially for students like us who go through very rigorous classes, we need that stress relief,” he said. “Sometimes it has to be just taking time for yourself, and the gym is where you get that done.”