Get in shape in the outdoor pool at the Student Recreation Center on campus.
Get in shape in the outdoor pool at the Student Recreation Center on campus. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Sure, it has the standard goodies: a weight room, pools, group fitness classes.

But the University of Colorado's student rec center has much more than just that — with offerings extending out into nature and even your next outdoor vacation.

Even if you think you know the CU rec center, it's time to get reacquainted. It has evolved over the past year, with some new and different features to help keep students active and healthy.

CU has two different indoor rec centers, the Student Recreation Center on campus and the Bear Creek Rec Center for students in Williams Village.

Full-fee-paying students have access to both facilities, although some features, like the climbing gym, cost extra.

The Student Recreation Center spans more than 300,000 square feet, complete with multiple basketball and tennis courts, an ice rink, three artificial turf and four grass fields, four pools, a 7,000-square-foot climbing gym and more.

What's new this year?

One of the biggest changes with the rec center this year is with its intramurals, says Annie Mulvany, assistant director of marketing for CU's Recreation Services.

This year, students can pay a flat $16.50 to play as many different intramural sports as they want to for the entire semester. In the past, students had to register and pay for each individual activity separately.

Mulvany says she hopes this will increase involvement in intramurals.


Intramural sports are also expanding to some more novel activities, she says. For example, new this year: water basketball and water volleyball in the pool. And for students who don't want or don't have the time for a longer commitment, the rec center is offering more tournaments.

"The tournaments are shorter, so there's not as much commitment. It's two days over the weekend instead of six whole weeks," she says.

Even if you don't want to play intramurals, the rec center aims to offer a wide spectrum of activities that appeal to everyone, Mulvany says.

Students can get certified in CPR, First Aid or as a lifeguard. They can sign up for scuba diving classes or take a small-group personal training session.

The wellness center offers free nutrition consultation, a Musculoskeletal Injury Clinic to screen for minor muscle and joint injuries, flu shots and massage.

Then there's the Challenge Course, a high and low ropes course.

Planning an outdoor trip or hike? The rec center's Adventure Planning Center helps students plan trips, print maps, find equipment and even guide trips.

"It's a good resource for students who want to go out and explore Colorado," Mulvany says.

"We're more than just weights and cardio equipment," she adds.

How to get the most out of the rec center

All group fitness classes, ice skating and bouldering in the climbing gym are free the first week of classes, to allow students the chance to explore and find what they enjoy, before committing to buying passes, Mulvany says.

The center offers more than 100 fitness classes every week, spanning barre to Zumba to Pilates to TRX.

"People can really try to find their fit in the rec center, see what they like to do," she says.

The second week of classes, all dance and martial arts classes are free. CU offers hip-hop, Cuban salsa and belly dancing.

For students who want to play intramurals but don't know enough people for a team, Aug. 25 is the Buff Round-Up, a gathering for students looking for others to form teams with.

If you're interested in playing a sport club, attend the sports club organizational meeting. Find dates and times at

The center also offers a free class called Intro To Fitness Equipment, in which students learn how to use the equipment in the gym.

Aimee Heckel: