Zanobea Boyde watches on as Peyton Randall uses the new calf extension machine during the grand reopening of the Tawes Wellness Center.

When Mike Hall began as the director of the Health and Wellness Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, he arrived to a newly opened facility.

The workout center, which was converted from the campus’ former swimming pool in Tawes Gym, was equipped with state-of-the-art fitness equipment at its installation in 2003.

During the next two decades, some of the equipment from its opening continued to have a spot in the center.

Brookie Chaney, Keziah Threalkill, Janiyah Blair pose for a picture during the grand reopening of the Tawes Wellness Center earlier this spring.

That was until the workout area underwent a major renovation, including a new paint job for the facility and equipment sporting a maroon and black motif.

The improvements were unveiled during the Health and Wellness Center’s grand reopening earlier this spring.

“I’m so happy for the students, faculty, and staff to be able to experience this,” Hall said. “You could really see they were awestruck by what they all saw. This is what you see at places like Pure Fitness and Planet Fitness. This is upgraded and durable commercial equipment.”

The new look was instantly a hit with the student body as well.

“I’m liking the new gym equipment,” said student Glenn Jones. “It’s got a nice feel in here and everything is up-to-date and more spaced out than last semester.”

In addition to the equipment upgrades, a new floor was installed replacing the previous surface that was a constant reminder of its past life as an aquatic facility.

Gone was the running track bordered by the yellow tile barrier emblazoned with the warnings of ‘caution’ and the various pool depths.

Along with the facility improvements, new extended hours for the workout center were implemented during the school year, including evening hours on weekdays – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – and 12 to 5 p.m. availability on Saturdays and Sundays.

For the summer, the Wellness Center is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hall said with the new hours, he’s seen one of the most popular times to exercise take place during Monday evenings.

Khadeejah Jones, MacKenzie Ejuma, and Emalie Pennant pose for a picture during the grand reopening of the Tawes Wellness Center on April 2.

“Those are the times where after missing time on the weekend and a long day of classes, there’s that time to release stress,” he said. “You have to remember that this is a therapy for a lot of students mentally, physically, and holistically. It’s a place where they can come and focus on themselves.”

For Khadeejah Jones, a junior urban forestry major who is also a staff member at the gym, being able to have the extended hours is a welcome addition to someone who can’t travel off campus.

“My last class normally ends at 6:45, so I wouldn’t often make it to the gym in time,” she said. “I’m very passionate about fitness and working out, so this will be very beneficial to me.”

Hall added that with the opportunities for more attendees to use the equipment, he hopes that the gym will continue to be a focal point on campus as he sees nearly 200 people a day.

“I think this is one of the biggest hubs on campus in terms of people coming in and out of our area,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of students, believe it or not, work out, so they’re looking for a nice facility. It can also be a great recruiting tool while being good for retention.”

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