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Fitness Center Receives New Equipment

By James Trent
On April 25, 2018

SGA Business Manager Haley Fields, Daniel Gilbert, and Chris Smallwood unpack the new fitness equipment.
Photo Courtesy of James Trent

Concord’s Fitness Center was able to purchase much needed and highly requested equipment after applying for $1500 from the Student Government Association (SGA).

While the Fitness Center is one of Concord’s most frequented facilities by both the campus community and the general public, it has never had much of a budget. Chris Smallwood, Concord’s Recreation and Wellness Coordinator, states that cuts to the state budget has not helped matters either, as many departments and programs are having to make do with less and less of a budget each year. Users of the Fitness Center had been asking staff for new equipment and pointing out that old equipment had gotten past the point of repair, but there was little to no money for the Fitness Center to use. At the request of one of his employees, Chris Smallwood asked SGA for the funding. SGA members approved the request for $1500, and the Fitness Center was able to purchase the new equipment immediately. As of April 20, much of the new equipment had already arrived with the rest on its way.

In the past, the Fitness Center has made do with salvaging parts for self-repairs whenever repairs were necessary. The parts for some of the equipment are expensive, with belts for weight-lifting machines costing around $27 per foot. To work around this, Fitness Center employees would take good belts from broken machines and replace the broken parts, costing the school nothing at all. Whenever upholstery becomes worn or torn from use, Smallwood has learned to reupholster the seats himself, with his own tools and on his own time.

Around 75 percent of the pieces bought were replacements, according to Smallwood. Purchases include new placemats, new weighted plates, belts to keep people from hurting their backs while lifting, and a new deadlift bar designed to keep users in the proper position to avoid hurting themselves.

As Smallwood notes, recreational facilities and exercise have been shown to improve student productivity and retention during college. Smallwood himself did a study for his master’s degree about how student involvement with physical recreation programs can help them learn and stay in school, replicating a study that surveyed over 133,000 across the country. “One thing I found was this feeling of belonging at a school, that’s the general thing,” Smallwood says. “The students that work out in this facility and participate in intramurals generally report they have better experiences on campus. They have more friends, they say they like the campus, staff and faculty more. They have that feeling of belonging.”

The Fitness Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during finals week. Chris Smallwood can be reached at

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