Kendra Smaby – Staff Writer
The Lund center expansion has been anticipated for years, being sold as a major selling point by coaches throughout athletics as a tool to gain new recruits. The illustrations excited the imagination with the promise of what was to come. But the past two years, living with Lund as a construction zone has been difficult. There have been a multitude of construction delays due to weather or accidental setbacks such as burst pipes.
Athletes and general students alike have been forced to share their spaces and deal with closures of certain spaces so that construction can proceed. The constant whirring and pounding of power tools has become the new norm. And while this will continue, students are finally able to see and access some of what they were promised.
On Wednesday May 4 at 6 a.m., the new Lund center had its soft opening. Staff and students alike swarmed in like kids in a candy shop wanting to try every new piece of equipment. For staff and student workers, the workout areas aren’t the only upgrades. New office spaces are being constructed for almost every coach and administrator except for home. Head Gymnastics Coach Aryn DeGrood ‘09 whose office will stay in old Lund in the Sponburg Gymnastics studio. Not all of the student workers welcome the change however.
Junior Jenna Griffith ’23 a worker at the Lund information desk and a member of the gymnastics team was fortunate enough to get a tour of new Lund on Tuesday, prior to the soft opening. Griffith says of the space, “I don’t like the new desk space. The desk is in a weird spot and just feels very open and exposing in a way. I haven’t worked yet so maybe once I actually start I will like it better.” As an athlete, Griffith is excited for the change. Even though the Sponburg gymnastics studio will remain the same in old Lund, she is “excited about having more space to work out without fighting for space (hopefully) and for more equipment.” The new weight room, cardio area, and various accessory rooms certainly will provide this.
Sophomore Marcus Hansen ’24 of the Cross Country and Track teams went to see new Lund Wednesday morning shortly after it opened. Hansen said of his initial impression, “I thought it looked pretty cool. It was really fun to see so many students, specifically student athletes, enjoying the area. I think it is something that I definitely look forward to using more.” Interested in architecture and design, Hansen critiques that “it is a little cookie cutter in terms of the architectural elements, like I think every gym these days is you know doing the big windows and all that, but at the same time it’s just really nice to know that our school is also going to have that type of facility.”
The Track team along with the gymnastics team are some of the sports not gaining an entirely new facility in new Lund, with the indoor track remaining in old Lund. However, these athletes will still be able to get good use out of the new facilities to bring their sports to the next level.
Given that the indoor track is going to stay the same and they’re not going to change it so that we can have proper sized indoor track, I definitely will enjoy the use of the treadmills and being able to look out of a window and not looking straight at a brick wall on the really cold days. Otherwise the weight room will also be nice for track strength and conditioning,” Hansen said.
It is clear that the new weight room will be a highlight for many athletes. The racks decked out in black and gold and the plates that read “Golden Gusties,” as well as the “champions are made here” graphic really work to make the space feel next level. Lifting in this room athletes are constantly reminded of the name they are working to represent to push themselves just a little bit harder.
While the full expansion of new Lund is still underway, the soft opening has already provided student athletes and students alike with a taste of what is to come.