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Gypsum Rec Center: Exercise explosion

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyGymnastics instructor Talea Sutherland lends a hand to one of her students at the Gypsum Recreation Center.
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GYPSUM ” Three months after opening, the Gypsum Recreation Center has 2,455 members ” that’s about 25 percent of the population of the Eagle and Gypsum.

Those numbers are delighting officials at the Western Eagle County Metro Recreation District, who had estimated the facility would attract 2,500 members by the end of 2007.

“We’re ahead of where we thought we’d be,” said Steve Russell, director of the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District. Of that overall figure, 1,549 of those memberships are family memberships which represent an even higher number of rec center users.

“That was the whole idea behind the Gypsum Recreation Center ” to be family oriented,” Russell said.

Since opening in October, the center has averaged 14,000 visits per month. Swimming, gymnastics classes and fitness center are proving to be the center’s most popular programs.

Rec center staffers expected about 150 kids would enroll in gymnastics, but nearly 285 children are taking part in the program.

“We think that will just keep growing,” said Russell.

And about 70 birthday parties have been held at the rec center since it opened.

The center has 26 pieces of cardiovascular equipment and 11 weight-training machines. At any given time of day, 60 to 75 people are working out, with the busiest hours being between 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Russell said.

Exercisers who arrive during peak times may have to wait 15 to 20 minutes to use their favorite cardiovascular machine, but users are limited to a maximum of 30 minutes on each piece of equipment, Russell said.

“I thought the thing that would be the biggest draw would be the swimming pool, but it may actually be the fitness center,” Russell said..

For people who want to work out in a more solitary setting, several spin bikes have been placed in private nooks around the center.

“In this big ol’ building, you can still find a place to be by yourself,” Russell said.

With child care and recreation programs for kids under the same roof, adults can use the fitness center while their kids are busy in another part of the building. That’s been a key element for the center’s success, Russell said.

The two most popular exercise classes are muscle conditioning and boot camp, said Mike Staten, who coordinates athletic and fitness activities for the rec center.

Lisa Woods, who hails from Texas via Colorado Springs, is the instructor for the muscle conditioning class.

“She was bugging me to death, six months before we even opened this building,” Staten said. “She has turned out be a phenomenal instructor. Everybody loves her. You can’t help but have fun in Lisa’s class.”

Boot camp, taught by Richie Vazquez, puts participants through push ups, sit ups, medicine ball workouts and step sessions.

“It really is a boot camp with 16 stations and 32 people in a class. Richie is the funniest drill sergeant in the valley,” Staten said.

Staten said he is thrilled to see families enjoying time together at the rec center.

“Traditionally we have done programs for kids and mom and dad sat on the sidelines and watched,” he said. ” The best thing is now we have one-stop recreation shopping.”

The center’s gym is open for pick-up basketball and volleyball.


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