Ritchie center struggles to support the growing amount of gym attendees


The University of Denver’s Ritchie Center

As the University of Denver’s Ritchie Center strives to provide wellness and healthy living for the student population at DU, these opportunities become limited to students as space and availability decreases and the population increases.

The Ritchie Center is available for both DU students and alumni to use, however it is also available to the public around the area who pay for membership or punch/pass cards. This includes adults and their children. The student population has expanded over 11,000 students (including undergraduate and graduate students). Each year the freshman class is known to grow as the university over-admits students each year.


Available space is declining

As population grows not only with students but the local public, the Ritchie Center’s space for activity decreases as more and more individuals wish to use the fitness machinery and technology. In the Ritchie Center, including the Coors Fitness Center, in estimation there are about:

Coors Fitness Center:

-12 treadmills

– 1-10 stationary bicycles

– 7 eliptacles

– 15-25 weight machines

– 2 stair-steppers

– 4 private squash/wall ball rooms

For larger facilities involved:

– 1 Pool, 2 Ice Arenas, 1 Ciber field and stadium with 2-6 fields max, and a handful of rooms where work-out classes are held.

Keep in mind, that these facilities, like the pool, fields and ice arenas are used by the University’s division 1 athletic and club teams (Swim Team,  DU Figure Skating Team, DU Hockey Team, DU Basketball, DU Soccer, etc,.). These facilities are therefore unavailable to other students along with the normal public at different times due to team practices and games. Certain spaces are also reserved for the public who pay for things such as “Learn To Swim” programs.

What student gym attendees think

Hanna Pedego a Junior at DU, is an avid gym user. Not only does she go almost every day, but she has to plan her day around times when the Ritchie Center will not be busy with loads of people using the facility:

“I refuse to go to the gym at certain times now. If there are too many people I’ll just leave because it isn’t fun to work out with so many people around you and when you can’t use any of the machines you want to.”

Another Junior, Jess O’Toole chooses to use the outdoors over maneuvering the Coors Fitness Center. “At this point I just run outside or work out in my living room. The only time I go to the gym now is early in the morning, otherwise I get nothing done.”

Many who attend the Coors Fitness Center know that the upstairs is often filled with people because the treadmills are up on the second floor, along with eliptacles and a small weight and floor/mat area.


                                              Andria Clark, DU Junior 

“The treadmills are the most popular upstairs, especially with girls, so I sometimes have to use these strange hamster – wheel like treadmills that I hate to run on. No one uses them, DU should invest in more treadmills or other equipment that is used more frequently.” said Andria Clark a Junior, shown in the picture above.

When students were asked what they wanted to see more of in the Ritchie Center, their concerns revolved around whether or not they were on a team sport, etc. For example, many on the DU Figure Skating Club Team complain about Joy Burns Arena and the hours of operation. They are only allowed to use the arena in the mornings of Monday-Friday from 7-9. With schedules of classes during the week, etc., many would like to see afternoon hours and availability on the weekends. However, they are refused the access even when it isn’t being used. Why?

However, due to the public use, the ice rink gets booked for hockey, so DU students have a hard time renting it out. This also goes for Magnus Ice Area as well. Students often do not get first priority unless they are on the D1 DU sports Teams, if that at best.

Students, at the very least, need more space for more equipment. As more people attend the gym and facilities of the Ritchie Center it becomes difficult to get use out of them. Already there are issues with facilities and student groups trying to use the space.

It will only get worse. Keep in mind that most D1 sports teams have additional gym and/or space for training that are only accessible to them. Therefore, the Ritchie Center currently doesn’t even support that separate population of DU entirely. So if the Ritchie Center is already getting too busy and crowded with people, what will happen when DU continues to over-admit and grow in population?




2 Responses to Ritchie center struggles to support the growing amount of gym attendees

  • I really like this story, Kaylee! I completely agree– the Ritche Center is overcrowded a lot of the time as well. Your interviews seemed to back up your argument very well and I like your pictures!

  • Rebecca Gerber
    Rebecca Gerber says:

    I really enjoyed reading your article about the Ritchie Center. I completely agree that the Ritchie Center has way too many people for the amount of machinery and space. I think it’s sad that students are saying they would rather just work out outside because it’s such a hassle to try and wait for machinery inside the gym. Also, I agree that D1 sports teams are given too much priority for space over club team sports or groups especially because they do have their own additional gyms solely for their usage.

    I think it would have been interesting for you to interview an employee of the Ritchie Center. I wonder if they are future plans to expand on the gym or replace machinery that is used less with more popular machinery such as the treadmills. I find that around busy times the treadmills are always completely occupied and I have waited up to twenty minutes to use one. It would have been interesting to hear a guy’s perspective to see if he feels the downstairs weight area is overly crowded as well.

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