Sport authority

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Nestled between the under-renovation student library and the most recognizable landmark on Campus, Ohio Stadium, Ohio State's Recreation & Physical Activity Center is a mecca of fitness and leisure.

The 600,000-square-foot, $154 million building - known as R-PAC around Campus - was completed in 2005. R-PAC Marketing Director Marci Harrington has been with the project since day one, and she knows the ins and outs of the massive facility.

Harrington sat down to speak with us about the state-of-the-art equipment and endless amenities students can find there.

What can students expect from the R-PAC?

We're trying to offer a little bit of everything for every student. We offer a full range of physical activity selections. We have a huge cardio space, free weight selectorized equipment, and spaces for team sports like basketball, volleyball and badminton. We try to offer those every day.

We have an indoor track here that is four lanes and an eighth of a mile long. We have somewhere for you to eat, somewhere for you to study and somewhere for you to grab a shower between classes.

How did the building's unique design originate?

The building was designed by Antoine Predock. He's an architect out of New Mexico. This is the first recreation center that he ever designed. He was really into concrete and glass and modern construction.

Our goal was to create a really open facility. With a facility this size, we wanted it to be really easy to see the spaces you wanted to go to. Standing in our lobby, you can see the racquetball courts, you can see the track. It makes it really easy for people to navigate their way through the building.

Aren't the aquatic centers are a big draw as well?

We have five indoor pools here - everything from a competitive pool that's 50 meters and 10 lanes, to a whirlpool spa that holds 20 people, to a leisure pool that has activities for small kids like a vortex and a bubble bench.

We've hosted a number of national events and will continue to do so. Michael Phelps was here in April as part of the Toyota Grand Prix. We also have a full diving well, and the [McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion] arena seats about 1,400 people for competition.

What types of classes and activities are offered at R-PAC?

We share space with the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, so we host a lot of their classes in the building in our multi-purpose rooms and in the pools and in the gymnasiums.

We offer a full-group fitness program, everything from Pilates to yoga to step aerobics. We also offer intramurals, which is one of our largest programs. It's team competition amongst other students, and it lasts the duration of the quarter. Flag football is our big sport for fall.

Can non-OSU students become members at R-PAC?

It's really targeted at students on Campus as well as the faculty and staff affiliated with the university. We offer memberships to people who are in the alumni association, as well.

There are some people who have friends or relatives who are faculty or staff members. They're able to sponsor one non-related person to the facilities at our non-affiliate rate. One neat feature we offer is for anyone who is a member, they can bring their immediate family on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for no extra fee.