A Western Washington Wonder

A look inside Wade King Recreation Center.

Wade King Recreation Center, a place full of history, of victory, of tears and sweat. Wade King Recreation Center Is located On the Campus of Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington. Built in 2004 it provides to the students of Western Washington University the opportunities of exercise and health. The name Wade King comes from a sad and tragic story; Wade King was a 10-year-old resident of Bellingham who passed away in a pipeline accident ten years ago. In memorial of him, they named an elementary school and the recreation center after him, and put a life-sized statue in the entrance of the recreation center. This comes from a newspaper article about the accident. Since its inception, the Wade King Recreation Center has grown and expanded, providing several opportunities for college students to become healthy and have fun.

Before we go into the rec centers areas, I want to clarify something. During my time observing the rec center, I have come across different categorizations of people at the rec center, also known as my species list. So far, I have eight “species” named. The Hulks, the Chuck Norrisis, the Prefontaines, the Amphibians, the Ballers, the Mountain men, The Newbies, and lastly the Jack of all Trades.

The Hulks are the ones who are big and muscular, body builders in other terms. The Chuck Norrisis, who have the body of a ufc fighter. They are little smaller than the hulks, but can be just as strong, The Prefontianes are the ones who are scrawny and skinny, and they run and do cardio and abdominals mostly. The Amphibians are the swimmers, and spend most of their time in the pool. The Ballers spend their time playing basketball or other ball sports in the three courts in the rec center. The Mountain Men spend most of their time climbing the rock wall. The Newbies are the ones who can’t figure out what they want to do in the rec center. The Newbie is a special “species” because everyone starts out as one, and evolve into one of the other “species”. Finally, The Jack of all Trades, this is also a special species because they can do it all, run, swim, climb, lift and more. This is a rare species, not very many “species” can do what the Jacks can do.

The entrance to the rec center is simple, yet elegant. On the right, there is the Rocks Edge café, with the statue of Wade King. The café provides refreshments and a lounge for students to study, eat and recover from working out. Straight ahead is the check-in desk, where you go and swipe your Western id to be allowed in.

The first area you will see is the rock climbing wall. At first, it seems very intimidating and scary; just imagining someone falling from the top made me cringe with fear and anxiety. I didn’t go on the wall for a little while because of this fear. One day, my friends convinced me to attempt bouldering at the wall. Bouldering is when you climb without ropes are harnesses. It was a very scary experience at first, but after climbing a couple of easy areas I started to get the hang of it. Now, I am no longer scared of the wall, in fact I am rather fascinated by fitness levels of the climbers. The experienced climbers are so strong and their technique seems flawless. I see the climbing wall as a place of achievement and challenges; the wall is a place for anyone to take on.

The weight room is a place full of species going against gravity. This place has every kind of athlete including body builders, runners, rowers and more. At first, it’s a little intimidating, but I have been in weight rooms before so I knew what to expect. However, this is college, so many people are in their prime. It has a vibe of competition. People trying to show off their strength and muscles and it seems like a contest. However, once you enter, it’s a supportive place for everyone. Trainers are there to help you, no one makes fun of “weak” people, everyone does their own thing. It’s an amazing experience to be in.

The three basket-ball/volleyball courts. For a rec center, they are really nice courts. Not many rec centers have basketball courts, and if they do they are usually not well maintained like these ones from my experiences. They tie everything together in some strange way, its like the courts give the rec center a feeling of completion. Is satisfying to see the rec center providing people with whatever they need. This is where most of the noise come from in the rec center. The sounds of players, the sounds of dribbling baskets, the smacking of volleyballs, it all makes up the majority of the sounds in the rec center. They help build community, team work, and skills. Personally, I am not great at basketball, but I still have fun playing it, especially on the rec center courts because many people are on the same level as I am.

On the second floor of the rec center, there are about six areas. There is the track, the exercise rooms for yoga and all, the boxing bags, and the two major exercise rooms with many lifting machines and treadmills and much more. When I first saw these areas, I was in awe. There is so much to do, from running to yoga to boxing, I could live here and be happy. In my opinion, this is my favorite place to be in the rec center. There are so many different species here. You have the Hulks, to the Newbies, to the Chuck Norris’s. Every species gets along, no conflict, which makes the place even better because everyone is so accepting of each other and supportive. It makes me happy to see species get along with one another.

The indoor track is small, yet effective. It provides a warm up area, a place to practice speed and agility, and provides a normal jogging atmosphere. All species run on this, most of them are tuned out to their preferred music choice, and some have friends running with them to talk about what they want. You can see the courts from up above, and there are times where basket balls and volleyballs fly up and land on the track. It can be a little annoying, but it happens. It takes about 10.5 laps for a mile, 21 laps for two miles and so on. It’s not the best place to go for a long distance run, but it’s very nice for short, fast runs. Personally, I use the track every time at the rec center; it’s one of my favorite place at the rec center.

The multipurpose rooms are located on the north side of the rec center. There are two of these rooms, each one specializing in different classes and so on. They are decently sized; they can hold about 50 people. So many things happen in these rooms: Yoga, Zumba, Spinning, Dance, Fencing, and much more. Every species comes to these classes; each one does a different class for a specific exercise. Some exercises are more mental, some are more physical; then there are exercises that are spiritual, like yoga. Some of them are very intense, like Zumba and spinning. Others are mild and soothing, like yoga and aerobics. I really like how the rec center can provide these kinds of classes. It opens up ideas and opportunities for the students at Western. Personally, I would love to take some of these classes in the future.

Lastly, the pool. It’s located the south west side of the rec center. It’s a nice sized pool. It has a hot tub and about six to seven lanes for swimmers. There is also a recreation pool for water basket-ball and other activities. This place, just like the basket-ball courts, ties the place together because it provides a totally different kind of exercise and fun. The hot tub helps with sore muscles, the swimming lanes help people achieve strength, cardio and endurance, and the recreation pool provides fun and entertainment to all. All species come to hang in the hot tub and recreation pool, which is great because it shows how species and get along with one another. The pool is a staple for the rec center, and is very important to the campus of Western.

The Wade King Recreation Center, a place of power, community, friendship and more. It does its job very well, providing a great variety of exercise materials, activities and more. Using Staheli’s ideas for places, the rec center is more than just a physical place. It’s a social place, one where everyone has evolved to enjoy each other’s company and is accepted.

First photo: Entrance to the Wade King Rec center.

Second photo: The Climbing wall inside the rec center.

Third Photo: The swimming pool in the rec center.