Challenge pledge pushes up fitness center goals

December 01, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

It would be great to have a permanent site for Western Maryland College's first on-campus, televised aerobics program, says program originator and co-instructor Ranee Deyo.

And co-instructor Sally Hall would really like a weight-training room where she could continue her current program of working out with weights, Ms. Deyo says.

Western Maryland students will gain an aerobics room and a weight-training center outside the regular campus athletic facilities if college officials can raise about $67,000 in cash and donated equipment to meet a challenge pledge.

Baltimore orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Blumberg, a 1967 Western Maryland graduate, has offered to donate $1 for every $2 the college raises toward the planned life fitness and aerobic center, to a maximum of $33,000.

Meanwhile, Ms. Deyo, a junior, and Ms. Hall, a sophomore, both communications majors, started an hourlong aerobics program on the campus cable television channel at the beginning of November.

Both women had been involved in aerobics, dance and the college's pompon squad. And when Ms. Deyo wrote a review of another cable TV program for the student newspaper, she got interested in producing an aerobics program. She enlisted Ms. Hall to lead high-impact aerobics while she demonstrates low-impact workouts. Demetrios Lambros, a senior majoring in theater, directs the program.

The aerobics program is taped in varying locations, depending on what room is available, Ms. Deyo said. "If we got a new room, that would be great."

The Western Maryland staff hopes to open the new fitness center in the fall of 1993. It may be located in the Decker Center, although no final decision on the location has been made, says Steven W. Close Jr., associate vice president and director of development.

"The feeling was that there is a real need for something like this, which is not part of the regular athletic area," he says.

Western Maryland has an athletically minded student body. More than 60 percent of the students participate in intramural sports, and 35 percent are active in intercollegiate sports.

The college has 1,200 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students, most of them part time. Graduate student enrollment is the equivalent of 300 full-time graduate students per semester.

Mr. Close says he will solicit exercise equipment manufacturers, but will also look for cash donations to cover the cost of renovations for the rooms and any needed equipment that is not donated.

He says the fitness center solicitation will be a "mini-campaign" separate from the college's annual fund-raising goal of more than $1 million this year.

The development staff also plans a major campaign in a few years to raise money for a new science center, endowed chairs and additional scholarships.

The life fitness center is to be for students, faculty and staff members. Mr. Close says no decision has been made on whether to charge users, but "there is some concern that we don't want to increase the operating budget because costs are kind of tight."

Mr. Close is looking at cross-country skiing simulators, equipment designed specifically for cardiovascular fitness, stair-climbing devices, treadmills, dumbbells and incline benches for the weight training rooms.

The aerobics studio would be an open room with a ballet barre.

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