Rec Center scheduled to reopen Sept. 24


Maggie Willard

The Recreation Center will open its doors to the public on Thursday, Sept. 24. 

After a few weeks’ delay following the governor’s executive order, the Oakland University Recreation Center will be opening on Thursday, Sept. 24 with limited services, capacity and hours. 

The Rec Center will only be allowing 65 people into the facility at any given moment, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Since the announcement of the governor’s order reopening gyms with 25% capacity, the Rec Center has been strategizing ways to reopen and maintain a safe environment. 

“It’s important that we keep in mind our guiding principles as a department that we had developed,” said Greg Jordan, director of university recreation and wellbeing (Rec Well). “First and foremost is the safety of participants and safety of our student employees who are working.” 

While the Rec Center is going to open Sept. 24, not all services will be available for use. In addition to the basketball courts closing to accommodate space for cardio equipment, the pool, fitness annex, racquetball courts and locker room showers will be closed to members. 

Workout equipment has been spaced out to accommodate a 10-foot distance, and a plexiglass shield has been installed at the welcome center desk. When in the Rec Center, all will be expected to fill out their MySail screening questions, wear masks and socially distance. 

In addition to the physical changes to the Rec Center, Rec Well will be increasing the staff to monitor capacity and increase cleaning. According to Jordan, prior to the pandemic, the Rec Center would typically have three student employees working. Now, they have increased that number to six. 

The Rec Center will also have a cleaning crew come once or twice a day to spray down the facility, similar to how classrooms are being cleaned across campus.

“We’d love to offer more [services], but it really is what [Jordan] said about everybody following protocols and following safety procedures and doing their part,” said Marie Vanbuskirk, assistant director for leadership and engagement. “Us in our commitment to clean and to follow those and model those protocols and enforce them, and our members … being prepared to know what to do when they’re in there.”

While certain services aren’t available yet, Rec Well has devised a plan to phase in services until they return to operation prepandemic. Jordan and the rest of the Rec Well team will be monitoring the executive orders in addition to the experience at OU to move forward. 

Throughout the summer, Rec Well has been developing plans and reorganizing the setup of the Rec Center to achieve their goal of safety, as well as comply with the regulations set forth by the executive order. Their delay in opening since the Sept. 9 allowance was due to finalizations in plans and seeing how other universities and facilities have been operating.

In order to monitor capacity, Rec Well has rolled out new software accessible to students through, which will allow students to sign in with their Net ID and password to sign up for in-person or virtual classes, find Rec Well updates and see how busy the Rec Center is.

“Our new technology we’ve implemented during the time we’re closed will allow us to have a dashboard that shows capacity, and we will be rolling that out shortly,” Vanbuskirk said. “It’s just something new that they’ve come up with and we’re really excited about. And we do have a new portal called my, where people can go and look at activities and register for any in person or virtual things we offer, and that’s where the dashboard would be displayed.”

To learn more about the operations and standards at the Rec Center, visit their social media or website.