The new Lowery Fitness Center in the Weatherspoon Athletic Center, which opened in August, supports the entire Meredith campus.
A $1 million gift from Ann Lowery, ʼ74, named the new fitness center after her parents, Herman and Ruth Lowery. At the center’s official opening, Lowery said, “This is the kind of reveal I wanted with all of these students here. The best thing about this fitness center is we can all benefit from it and it will help our health and well-being.”
The expansion increased the size of the fitness center by 5,400 square feet and will allow for more personalized training, more dedicated staff, and longer operating hours. Meredith athletic teams will also benefit from new areas for team training and sports conditioning. The enhancements will help in recruitment of top-ranked athletes.
“There is so much excitement and gratitude for this gift,” says Marie Chamblee, dean of education and health and human sciences. “This fitness center will provide a place for students and athletes to be active and to be involved.”
The Lowery Family Fitness Center has 11 treadmills, 8 bikes, 8 elliptical cross trainers, 4 ascent trainers, 2 rowers, and 6 power lifting racks. To compare, the previous fitness center had 10 cardio machines. There are also free weights, kettlebells, resistance machines, physio balls, medicine balls, bands, and accessory equipment available.
Along with the new equipment is new technology.
“On all the cardio equipment are QR codes that can be scanned into the LFconnect App, and it will record the exercise, sets, repetitions, and weight lifted,” says Erica Roelofs, director of the Lowery Family Fitness Center. “Also, individuals can bring headphones to plug into the machines that allow them to listen to any TV in the fitness center.”
The center will give students wellness opportunities not offered before and three physical education courses will be taught in the facility this semester. During those times, the campus community will still have access to the center.
“I am very excited that Meredith College is able to provide a facility with so many options to help all improve and maintain their health and wellness to keep going strong,” Roelofs said. “I truly believe that we have all the essential equipment that any individual could want in a facility. I hope all students, faculty, and staff utilize this great facility as much and as often as they are able.”
Roelofs also noted that with the exception of the treadmills, the cardio equipment is self-powered, which allows the center to operate with lower energy costs.
In addition to Lowery’s gift, The Parents Fund raised $135,000 in the last two years to support the Fitness Center renovation. And a gift from The Cannon Foundation helped to support the fitness renovation in an effort to enhance enrollment and retention.