College to renovate Alumni Gym, celebrates progress in wellness programming

College to renovate Alumni Gym, celebrates progress in wellness programming

April 18, 2018

Several new fitness and wellness initiatives are underway at Maryville College and today, during a “Wellness Celebration” held in the Alumni Gymnasium, administrators announced another one: Renovation of that 95-year-old facility for intramural and fitness programs.

“It is always an exciting day when we can celebrate increased resources for our students,” said Dr. Melanie Tucker, vice president and dean of students, in her welcome. “An expanded fitness center was something that the students asked me about during my first week on campus last year and now, through the leadership of President [Tom] Bogart and with the support of our Board of Directors, that dream is quickly approaching.”

Constructed in 1923 following a $50,000 fundraising drive led by then-MC faculty Dr. Edwin Hunter ’14 and Dr. Horace E. Orr ’12, the Alumni Gym was home to basketball teams and other student athletics and social events until the construction of what is now Cooper Athletic Center in 1971. The one-and-one-half-story, 11-bay building was renovated in 2007 for use as a multipurpose venue.

“For the last couple of years, we’ve been planning a number of expansions and improvements to wellness and fitness facilities that we’ll be rolling out over the next few years, but I’m thrilled today to be announcing the first one, and you’re standing in the middle of it,” Bogart told the crowd. “Starting next year, Alumni Gym will be the new home for student intramurals and student fitness and wellness.”

The president announced that immediately after Commencement on May 20, contractors and crews would be on site to begin a substantial renovation that includes a new roof, a new and enlarged floor and new mechanical systems. The baseball locker room will be transformed into a fitness center equipped with weights and cardio and strength training machines, doubling square footage currently allocated to exercise and fitness in Bartlett Hall.

“It’s just going to be phenomenal space,” Bogart said, adding that while the Alumni Gym undergoes renovation, a new baseball locker facility will be constructed between the third-base dugout and the entrance to the football field.

Work is expected to be completed by late fall. No classes or events are scheduled for the Alumni Gym during the fall semester.

According to the president, the price tag for both projects is $3.5 million, most of which is being funded by an anonymous donor. Alumni and friends of the baseball program also have contributed to the locker room facility, and fundraising continues.

“There will be public recognition of these things at an appropriate time,” Bogart said, “but in the meantime, we are just so grateful for the many wonderful friends of Maryville College who support us financially and make it possible for us to deliver the type of facilities that our students, faculty and staff need.”

College earns highest designation for EIMOC program

Bryce Redaja ’18, a senior exercise science major, announced during the Wellness Celebration that Maryville College had recently earned gold-level status with the American College of Sports Medicine-backed Exercise is Medicine® on Campus (EIMOC) initiative.

The College was officially registered as an EIMOC school last fall and since then, has added programming to qualify for the highest level of recognition.

“We’re one of only two schools in Tennessee to achieve the gold-level status,” Redaja said.

The EIMOC initiative encourages people to think about exercise as a vital sign. When students visit the Maryville College Health Clinic, Redaja said, they are asked if they are meeting 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity to improve health, as recommended by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

“We saw that 62.8 percent of students who went to the health clinic met these guidelines,” he said, mentioning other achievements, such as increased numbers of students attending semester-long fitness classes like yoga, cardio hip-hop and circuit training.

The College’s exercise science program will continue to strive to “reach more people and have them engage in more physical activity,” Redaja said, emphasizing that a renovated Alumni Gym gives them more opportunities.

Fit. Green. Happy.® is official

Holding up a signed document from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Bruce Guillaume ’76, founder and director of Mountain Challenge and adjunct instructor in the College’s Division of Education, told the crowd gathered in the Alumni Gym that the term “Fit. Green. Happy.” was now protected as a registered trademark.

Used in recent years to describe the strong connections between the Mountain Challenge program, the College’s academic departments and courses and its location, Fit. Green. Happy.® “is three words, four ideas and one program,” Guillaume said.

He started the process of trademarking more than a year ago, after visiting other colleges and universities to assess their programs and commitment to areas involving fitness and wellness, sustainability, outdoor and personal happiness.

Several institutions stress fitness, many stress environmental stewardship, and some talk about happiness in terms of student satisfaction, but Guillaume said he found no institution integrating them across campus and including them in the curriculum like Maryville College.

The response to Fit. Green. Happy.® from faculty and staff at other institutions has been incredibly positive and supportive, he said.

“The reaction has been ‘Wow. That is really unique.’ And a lot of people said to me, ‘That it is so unique that you need to protect that program and protect that idea.’

“Well, I had no real idea what that meant, but it turns out that when you’re talking about protecting an idea and/or a program, you’re really talking about trademark protection,” Guillaume explained. “So, probably a year and a half ago, we started an application for fit, period, green, period, happy, period, to become a registered trademark.”

It was officially registered Feb. 6, 2018.

Guillaume explained that with trademark protection, Mountain Challenge and Maryville College now own Fit. Green. Happy.®

“Maryville College is the only Fit. Green. Happy.® school in the United States, and this I know,” he said.

Written by Karen Beaty Eldridge ’94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.