One of Everything at THE Ohio State University—You Won’t Get Bored

Now this is a rec center! Credit: The Ohio State University/Office of Student Life/Department of Recreational Sports.

As part of Fit Bottomed College Week, we’re highlighting a few of the coolest college rec and fitness centers across the country!

It’s sufficient to say that most NCAA Division I colleges and universities probably have some high-tech workout equipment and facilities for students and faculty to take advantage of during the school year. Well, I’d say that THE Ohio State University, as they like to refer to themselves, has some kick-ass recreation facilities. Yes, I said facilities, and not just one or two, but five to be exact. They span more than 90 acres and combined are used daily by 8,000 to 10,000 students and more than 4,500 faculty, community members, family, etc. (No wonder they are so dang good at football and basketball, among other sports I’m sure!)

The facilities are spread out over the campus, so you don’t have to haul your stuff from one side of campus to the other. I like that part. No sense in trying to discourage college students by making it harder to get to their workout. The flagship facility though is definitely the Recreation & Physical Activity Center (RPAC), which is their largest (shown above) with more than 630,000 square feet. OMG that is enormous! I can’t imagine something that large. The RPAC is at the center of campus and houses much of the welcome center, additional workout spaces and a cool skywalk from the fitness center to the Physical Activity and Education Services academic building. How cool is that? There’s nothing like gettin’ in a workout and then heading right to class.

Treadmills and ellipticals galore! Credit: The Ohio State University/Office of Student Life/Department of Recreational Sports

Aside from that mother of a fitness center, the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) is dedicated mostly to all things outdoors. They have rock climbing walls, equipment storage for kayaks and canoes, and they also have several turf fields where people can play soccer, flag football, rugby and so much more. Really? If I only had this in college, I might as well have spent most of my years outside—except for the extremely windy and cold conditions—but you get the point.

In conjunction with the OAC is the ARC, or the Adventure Recreation Center. This facility has four basketball courts, two indoor turf fields (who has heard of that for a college campus?) and several other fitness staples, such as weights and cardio machines. I’m getting jealous already and we are only getting warmed up. (Get it? Warmed up?)

So if none of those facilities appeals to you, there’s the Jesse Owens Recreation Centers. There is a North, South and West Center on campus, which is, according the website, a short walk for nearly 12,000 students. There’s that convenience factor I was talking about. The West facility is strictly used for tennis, but the other two are additional places for students and faculty to use. The North and South facilities house equipment like tumbling mats, table tennis tables and loads of cardio machines, like exercise bikes and ellipticals. Again, how could you not get out of your dorm room and go use these places? I think if I had access to all this in college, I would have dragged a few friends out more to go work out.

With all those facilities, it’s obvious what sets The Ohio State apart. Right?

“The sheer number of programs and services we offer,” says Emily Howard, program manager, marketing and creative services for The Ohio State. “From traditional intramural sports and sport clubs, to outdoor adventure trips, competitive swim and diving teams, group fitness classes, personal training, massage, racquet sports, adapted recreation, indoor/outdoor tennis, etc., and the variety of special programming.”

And even though The Ohio State has these rad workout facilities, according to Howard, they can also boast sharing the title of oldest recreational sports department in the country, as it was founded in 1913. She says they share the title with the University of Michigan, and if anyone knows anything about college sports, that is one heck of a rivalry. Goodness, I would not want to get in the middle of an argument with those guys.

Which of these facilities sounds most appealing to you? —Kelsey



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