Waterloo’s Athletic Facilities #1 in Canada
The Globe and Mail’s annual University Report Card gave UW an A+ this year for its outstanding athletic facilities- and it’s not hard to see why!
Rival universities like Queen’s have recently spent millions on new athletic centers, but Waterloo uses innovative cost-saving techniques to treat its athletes best while still being able to fund multiple new engineering and math buildings. Who needs a stadium when you have a field and temporary bleachers? Why have a rock wall when you can have a bouldering closet? Who wants a stretching area when you can get checked out by the bulky dudes with the bars and plates? These are all serious concerns that Waterloo has addressed to optimize the workout experience while keeping student fees low.
Waterloo’s newest facility, CIF, is placed strategically north of Columbia St so students can warm up to their workout just by walking or biking all the way there. It’s home to an ice rink, fitness centre, gyms and studios, but most students prefer the charm of the central campus gym, the PAC. Anyone who’s been to the PAC knows that it houses only the latest cardio and weight training machines from the 80’s. The equipment is even sourced from Value Village so that students can solve unique engineering design problems before getting to use it. The cozy size of the weight room is designed to increase peer interaction, which fosters a motivational sense of cooperation to enhance the workout experience.
“It’s scientifically proven that smelling the hard work of others around you releases endorphins…it’s like Gatorade in the air…really innovative!” said Peter James Paul, UW’s fitness coordinator. In fact, the PAC is full of innovation: treadmills face the wall so that students can visualize the end of their run, elderly faculty members voluntarily make sure that female students have proper workout form, mix-and-match free weights let students fix muscular imbalance, and much more. The pool is so state-of-the-art that the ceiling isn’t falling down this term, and there are some new tables in the squash courts.
The best hidden gem of that PAC is the Red Activity Area, where our professional track is. “We took your standard 400m track and scaled it by a factor of ten,” explained Paul, “so now we have a 40m track in hopes that our track stars will also scale their times by ten.” The track surface was salvaged from a dumpster and rolled over the floor overnight, compared to the construction of other tracks, which take months or years. Other surprises found in the activity areas include archery targets, mysterious scraps of wood, and large blocks of foam. There’s so much to discover that it’s fun to get lost in PAC’s confusing hallways!
Thanks to the support of UW admin that we earned our A+ from the Globe. It’s great to know that fitness is important at Waterloo and it reflects in the performance of our athletes. It’s easy to train hard and competitively when you have so many resources accessible right on campus. The state of UW’s athletic facilities hasn’t changed in decades, so it would be no surprise if in ten years the PAC is still loyally serving our workout needs.