BY JACKIE O’ROURKE
Assistant News Editor
Sacred Heart University held the grand opening ceremony for the new Bobby Valentine Health and Recreation Center on Tuesday, Aug 27.
The new health and recreation center is named after Sacred Heart’s current athletic director, Bobby Valentine, who is a former player and manager of Major League Baseball (MLB). “To consider myself in the company of Frank Martire, Jack Welch, Linda McMahon, Dr. Petillo, and all the other people who have made an influence on campus is rather special,” said Valentine.
The construction for the building began in April 2018. Mr. Valentine was a part of a team along side Mike Kinney, Sacred Heart’s senior vice president for Finance & Administration, University Advancement, William Reidy, Vice President for University Advancement, architectural firm The S/L/A/M Collaborative, and Consigli Construction Co., who all collaborated to bring this new facility to life.
Speaking on his involvement in the construction and design process, Valentine said, “Every step of the way, they let me sit in the room and give my opinions but it was in good hands.”
“I like how there are windows all around the perimeters, it is cool how you can see outside,” said junior interdisciplinary studies major Vanessa Parrillo.
The facility features a new bowling alley, rock climbing wall, golf simulator and indoor track. It also serves as the new home to student workout areas with brand new equipment and machines, basketball courts, a spin studio, fitness classes, athletic training offices, and club and intramural sports offices.
“I think the bowling alley is really cool because since I am on the bowling team, it is really nice that we do not have to travel to go bowl. This is super convenient and it is fun for people to come here and have fun with their friends too,” said junior criminal justice major Skyler Mulligan-Brown, who is a member of the women’s bowling team.
“It is nice and new, it is a nice floor and nice hoops, there is a lot of padding on the side walls,” said freshman sports management major Evan Markis about the basketball courts.
“I am not a personal fan of treadmills so I love the suspended track. It’s a great option to get your miles in,” said junior Mark Bosse, a theater arts and psychology double major.
“Sometimes I do not really feel comfortable running around this area if I am not with anyone or have anyone to run with so this was nice. This was my first time running on the track. I enjoyed it. I did two miles. It is cool, not hot like it is outside right now. I liked it. I will definitely do it again,” said junior biology major Kerin Ingegneri.
“My favorite night time activity is the bowling alley, in the morning I like to use the golf simulator, and in the afternoon, I like to use the rock climbing wall. When I need to release some stress, I will use all the different cardio machines or go to the aerobics rooms,” said Valentine.
The Bobby Valentine Health and Recreation Center is free for all full-time undergraduate students with valid SHU IDs. Membership plans are available for part-time students, graduate students, and faculty members with certain fees. No guest passes or community memberships are available.
“My favorite part of the Bobby Valentine building is probably the aerobics and yoga studios, because I’m a dancer and we use them sometimes, but also it is always free if I ever want to just go in and work on individual things with weights, jump ropes, and bocce balls, so if I ever want to strengthen, I can on my own time,” said sophomore exercise science major Ryan Soloranzo.
“It it so spacious, it is nice to come here to relax and workout. There are so many fitness classes which I think are a great addition,” said freshman criminal justice major Daisy Tuquinagui.
The fitness classes offered are Zumba, Yoga, Barre, and Spin. Class sizes are limited and some require getting a ticket at the front desk to enter the class. The entire fitness class schedule can be found on the Sacred Heart University website.
“The gym is amazing. There is something for everyone. They have the bowling, rock climbing; there is a great space for people to come play basketball on their own time; and also the studios when there is no fitness classes – people can use the studios for their own personal use. We didn’t have all that in the Pitt. What I love about the classes, now with the new facility is people are more likely to come to classes and trying them because they are intrigued by the new facility and it brings them in to try a new class so it is great having a lot of new faces,” said Barre and Zumba instructor Amber Allen.
The building is open Monday to Thursday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The bowling alley is open Monday to Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday
1 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The rock climbing wall is open Monday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., again from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday to Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The golf simulator is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“I hope that students feel safe when they come into they building and they leave feeling relaxed, worked out and that they had a good time. I hope that will continue to go on for a long time,” said Valentine.