Rec centers open for in-person exercise


Courtesy LeeAnn Gustafson | NIU Athletics Department

NIU students and DeKalb residents are able to utilize fitness equipment at the Rec Center and other fitness centers on campus.

Madelaine Vikse, Lifestyle Editor

DeKALB The campus fitness centers are starting to open back up after being shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With most fitness classes to become in-person again for the Fall 2021 semester, the campus main recreation fitness center is looking to operate at its normal fall schedule as well. 

Campus fitness facilities include Chick Evans Field House, the Recreation Center, the Outdoor Recreation Sports Complex and Anderson Pool, located in Anderson Hall. Student residence halls Gilbert Hall and New Hall also have gyms, which are available for use for all students and members.

The anticipated Recreation Center hours for the fall are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays, while the weekend hours have not been confirmed at this time, said Leanne Kulchawik, assistant director for fitness for NIU Recreation.

Last fall, the only facility open for students to go to work out at was the main recreation center. The facility hours last fall were similar to the current summer hours, which include scheduled times to clean while having the facility closed for periods throughout the day.

Some amenities included in the fitness centers are basketball, volleyball, indoor tennis and more. In the main Recreation Center, a former racquetball court has been converted into a bouldering room, said Chrissy Tluczek, assistant director of programs for NIU Recreation. 

Every fitness center on campus, as well as their hours for every day of the week, is listed on the NIU Recreation facilities website.

In-person group fitness classes are an extra fee per class, but students can sign up, access and ‘attend’ group fitness classes online through 

“Once you sign up, you will receive the Zoom link to join the class at the time that it starts, so all you have to do is use your NIU credentials to log in, and you will have access to the classes,” Kulchawik said.

Students do not have to pay extra to use the Recreation Center; membership is covered by student fees. All students need to have is their OneCard. 

Students have to pay extra for activities such as intramural sports programs, personal training and in-person group fitness classes. There are even some outdoor activities available for an extra cost for students as well, Kulchawik said. 

Community, faculty and staff are also welcome to use these fitness facilities but they are required to purchase memberships.

“We are a lot more than just a fitness center. We will have events that are just fun,” Tluczek said. “When you think of a rec center you might not think of hanging around a campfire eating s’mores but that is something that we do.”

Due to COVID-19, the NIU Recreation Department has a COVID-19 plan for the fitness facilities. This plan includes spacing fitness equipment, cleaning machines and encouraging social distancing. 

For more information about how the fitness centers will handle opening and COVID-19, visit the “COVID-19 Plan.” The website currently has summer hours of operation posted. For additional questions contact the NIU Recreation Department at 815-753-0231 or email at