By Ellen Cicchitti
Layout and Managing Editor
Over the course of the previous semester and winter break, renovations were made for the Dorothy Day Student Union and Billera Hall. Dorothy Day was still open during the time that students were still here for the last week of the semester, but major restructuring was happening within its walls. From Dec. 3 to Jan. 8, the Compardo Fitness Center was closed so work could be done.
According to Mitch Hivner, Director of Athletic Performance and the fitness center, the room was being updated with more equipment. There are now more treadmills, bikes, and squat racks than before as well as doubles of some of the smaller items. Also added was a brand-new machine, a Vertimax, that allows anyone to increase vertical jumping, help prevent injuries and develop power. Hivner also stated that much of the equipment was breaking down or already broken, and now everything has been fully updated.
“We also had a lot of open space, and now we’re using every inch that we can get,” Hivner added.
The only other renovation made to Billera besides the new equipment was the involvement of Hivner to oversee the fitness center. His new duty of supervision works in other ways besides being a first responder to equipment breakage or injuries.
“The athletes can come in and do speed and agility work all based on injury prevention, which has been a huge part of the success of the women’s basketball team. It also adds a different level of competitiveness throughout the day and helps with team chemistry because they are now doing activities in the weight room together,” Hivner said.
“I think it’s good, especially some of the new cardio equipment. The adaptive motion trainer is really good, especially for cross-country and track training, and it’s even better than some of the ellipticals. Overall it looks really clean,” said sophomore Matt Kraus about the new renovations in Billera.
Not only was the gym renovated in Billera, but so were other parts of Dorothy Day, including its fitness center. Hivner cites a better quality of life as to the reason why that center was updated, as well.
“Just having new equipment makes people want to work out,” said Hivner. “We took the equipment from [Billera] and put it down there, since it is a much more convenient location for the students. It offers a[nother] full fitness center to the rest of the campus.”
“Expanding the fitness center from three or four people can now allow 15 people,” said Assistant Dean of Students for Student Engagement and Leadership Nicholas Luchko.
The other renovations made in Dorothy Day have been the new lounge, the movement of the computers and printer from the Residence Life offices to the lounge and the movement of the entire student engagement and leadership offices from the back to the lounge. There was also the creation of new student leadership conference rooms for groups and student organizations to have space to meet. In addition, a new E-sports arena has been built down by the offices as well.
“These talks of renovations started about a year and a half to two years ago, and the fitness center and the E-sports arena revved that talk up,” Luchko said. “We decided that we would do this at some point in 2018, and in September and October, construction began.”
These new renovations, according to Luchko, will have an impact on faculty, students and staff due to all of the offices being together now in the same area.
“It’s going to make things easier when they come over here to look for us,” Luchko added. The Student Government Association office is out there now and it’s the first thing you will see.”
The new designs of the building are not just for the current students, either. Even the alumni of Allentown College have an official part of the university, with the “AC” sign near the trophy case outside the new fitness center.
For those who still have not seen the new changes, on Feb. 14, from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the new wing of Dorothy Day will host a celebration of the opening of its new offices with a food truck, snacks and beverages, prizes, an opportunity to meet the staff and a money machine with hundreds of dollars in cash. But those who have not seen it can still visit the new lounge and offices on any day.
“Everyone and everything are all together,” Luchko said. “It’s all students here. For me, it’s been great to see the smiles; there’s a new sense of energy, and it’s going to take things to the next level.”