Treadmills and weight machines are not for everyone when it comes to exercise. Miami University Recreation Center employees had this in mind when the university purchased the old Talawanda High School at 131 W. Chestnut St. in 2013.

Chestnut Field House will open its doors Jan. 31, from 2 to 6 p.m., for an open house.

The new rec center location is a renovated field house at the old Talawanda High School.

“Throughout the community, there was a great deal of discussion of what that might be used for,” Senior Director of Rec Center Programs and Academic Partnerships Mike Arnos said. “I think the university did a really nice job.”

While the flyers for the open house advertise a crossfit-style gym, Arnos says that is more of a marketing strategy.

“Crossfit is a buzz term,” he said. “Functional fitness or functional movement is really what we’re talking about here. But if we go out and say, ‘This is a functional movement gym,’ people are going to think that’s really boring.”

The field house will feature two rooms: the first room contains dumbbell racks, bumper plates, kettle bells, jump ropes and plyometric boxes. The secondary room is an open space designed for creativity and also has punching bags.

Arnos says some people are turned off by the lack of cardio machines at the new building, but those who are trying to branch out to something more than a fitness club may find a new home for health on Chestnut Street.

“It’s perfect for athletes,” Arnos said. “It’s hard to find things in [the rec] where you get explosive movements.”

Seth Cropenbaker, the rec center’s fitness director, says a crossfit-style workout is for the those who are very healthy and well-conditioned and he said he hopes the new facility will create that sort of culture.

“Hopefully what we can create over there is a mentality of community where we’re generating excitement rather than intimidation,” he said. “Hopefully we can create an environment where people feel like they’re in it together, as cooperative rather than competitive.”

Cropenbaker and student trainers will lead the workouts.

useJennifer Mills | The Miami Student

One of the student personal trainers at the rec center is the Weightlifting Club President Jake Cottingim, a senior kinesiology major who is headed to physical therapy school in Cincinnati after graduation.

When it was announced that Withrow Court would be demolished, Cottingim’s club knew it would be losing its home. The timing of Chestnut Field House’s opening allowed his club to have a space for the foreseeable future, albeit a shared one.

“There was really no other option for us, that’s what we were given,” he said. “The people who are in school now may be upset, but two or three years down the line Chestnut will be all the students know. It’ll be what they grow into.”

The Weightlifting Club will share the space with members of the field house, who will be signing up on a first-come first-serve basis during the open house.

The logistics are tricky, Arnos says, and the building will have to go through a trial period. He says the field house will top off at about 40 people at a time.

Cropenbaker says last week during the final stages of construction, people were driving by and asking if the building is open yet, so he expects a fairly large amount of interest.

“It’s an exciting problem to have but it certainly makes me a little nervous how popular we could be,” he said.

The hours will be Monday through Friday 1-7:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday 4 to 9 p.m.

To prevent overcrowding, the field house will have paid memberships. The cost of the memberships will be $90/semester for Miami students and rec center members and $125/semester for non-members. One trial pass per person will be offered for those who are not willing to commit to a full membership just yet. The week of Feb. 1 to Feb.5 will also be free week for the facility.

The field house memberships are open to students, faculty members and community members.

Arnos is confident the field house will succeed because both he and Cropenbaker are running the show.

“This isn’t being outsourced to any of our entry-level staff,” Arnos said. “You’ve got two of the higher folks in the rec center that are going to be asking a ton for your feedback after you’ve used it … We’re going to pilot every single thing we can think of.”

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