Dixon Recreation Center open for use, reservations required

By Yuxi Zhu
Jiepeng Zhu, Master of Science in Business, is working out in Dixon Recreational Sport Center on Mon. 8th. “ I think Dixon did a great job on social distancing and making indoor exercise safer,” Zhu said.

Yuxi Zhu, Practicum Contributor

Oregon State University has reopened on-campus facilities within the Department of Recreational Sports. Following all Oregon guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, students now have a healthy, safe exercise training environment.


As of Feb. 1, Dixon Recreation Center is open for use, and the OSU community can book reservations on Dixon’s website.


Due to the pandemic, many indoor facilities on campus have been closed to the public. Recently, the Oregon Governor’s Office adjusted COVID-19 restrictions in the state to allow recreational gyms to reopen under certain conditions.


Dan Larson, vice provost for Student Affairs at OSU, said “OSU is following guidance provided by Governor Kate Brown and operating within the state of Oregon Risk Levels guidance.” 


Leah Hall Dorothy, executive director of Recreational Sports said the opening of Dixon is aligned with the Oregon Health Authority and Benton County Health Department guidance.


“The resumption of activities is in keeping Recreational Sports’ high standards of emphasizing health, safety and cleanliness,” Dorothy said via email. 


Peter Chen, OSU senior in civil engineering, is a student who previously came to Dixon for training. As the pandemic gradually became the norm, long-term life at home made him pay attention to his health.


Since Dixon had been closed before, Chen looked for various ways to get his body moving.


“I would run around outside the football field, or play badminton and basketball. Sometimes I would go hiking and cycling,” Chen said.


For Chen, fitness can lose weight, shape his body, and relieve him of the stress in school.


The people around Chen are also affected by his exercise habit. They cheered each other on. As a person who prefers indoor facilities, Chen is excited about Dixon’s reopening.


After receiving the news of Dixon’s reopening, Chen immediately made a reservation with his friend. Although he was worried about the risk of COVID-19 at first, Dixon’s pandemic response made him feel relieved.


Larson said Recreational Sports uses signs, floor markers, spacing of equipment, room layouts and other features to provide social distancing within their facilities.


Brian Hustoles, associate director of marketing of communication and events at OSU, said Recreational Sports staff moved over 30 pieces of equipment from Dixon Recreation Center’s Weight Room 1 to the lower gym to create more space. 


“Cardio equipment is spaced at least six feet apart so that users cannot use a machine within six feet of another person,” Hustoles said via email. 


For students who are stuck at home, there are many ways to stay active without leaving or without having access to indoor facilities.


Compared to before the pandemic, Recreational Sports has implemented a variety of new virtual programs, including 25 virtual group fitness classes a week throughout February and the Just keep Moving’ movement-based competition where teams compete by tracking daily movement. 


“OSU Recreational Sports offers fitness resources to provide students ideas on how to stay active while at home,” Larson said via email.


Virtual fitness classes allow students to meet with a personal trainer via Zoom to establish a remote fitness plan and routine.


According to Larson, a main challenge that Recreational Sports and the university are dealing with is growing fatigue with observing pandemic restrictions.


“The pandemic calls on each of us to continue being vigilant and committed to observing personal and public health guidelines. Achieving reduced restrictions in the future is dependent on all of us being committed to helping keep ourselves and others healthy right now,” Larson said.  


Dorothy said another challenge Recreational Sports is facing is the demand for the use of indoor recreational facilities.


“The demands exceed the access that Recreational Sports can provide within current Oregon Health Authority guidance for indoor recreation,” Dorothy said.


However, in response to the guidance, Recreational Sports tries to provide students and members as many additional fitness opportunities as possible while still within the strict guidelines.


“Dixon Recreation Center provides cardio, weight rooms and gymnasium, as well as the pool and indoor climbing center,” Hustoles said.

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