Explained: how the REC will reopen for fall 2020 semester


Image retrieved from the UWL website.

Julia Balli, Executive Editor

On Aug. 15 the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Recreational Eagle Center (REC) announced new plans to reopen the facility to students and members for the fall 2020 semester amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UWL Rec Sports social media pages posted that they are “excited to see [everyone] back in the building.” Information was released on how the REC will operate this semester and safety measures employees will be taking to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19.

The REC will be following the emergency order implemented by Gov. Tony Evers that requires all people in an enclosed space to wear a mask. All equipment will be distanced to maximize social distancing guidelines.

The REC will have limited hours when reopening. The current schedule that is being followed from Aug. 17-30 the REC will be open Monday-Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

From Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 the REC will be open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

On Sept. 7, Labor Day, the REC will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Beginning Sept. 8 the REC will be open for longer hours Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Health & Safety Measures

The REC is requiring every person in the building to wear a face mask, even if the person is exercising. Plexiglass has been installed at the service counters, and hand sanitizer stations will be placed all around the building.

It is recommended that if UWL students, staff, and faculty go to the REC that they download the UWL REC Sports app from the Google Play or Apple store to be able to swipe in contactless, however, student IDs can still be used.

When entering a person’s temperature will be required at the automated kiosks before entering the turnstile. If anyone has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, that person will not be able to enter.

If the person was active before coming into the building, it is recommended that the person cool down for 15 minutes to display an accurate temperature. Members are allowed two temperature checks if they do not clear the first one.

When entering the REC signage and decals will be placed throughout the building to direct traffic flow, and zones are designated to maintain a distance of six feet. Strength and cardio equipment will be placed 10 feet apart.

The REC will also be limiting the number of people allowed into the building when they reopen based on area. Including staff members: 50 people will be allowed in the Fitness Center; 13 people will be allowed in the Multipurpose Room (ellipticals only); nine people will be allowed on Courts 1, 2, MAC, and racquetball court (individual use only/space); 30 people will be allowed in Courts 3 and 4 (cardio and core); 24 people will be allowed in aerobics and 18 people in cycling group fitness classes; 28 people will be allowed in Upper Level (track, cardio, and strength equipment); and six people will be allowed in the Climbing Wall area.

All exercise equipment will be cleaned before and after use. To know when equipment is ready for use there will be a “thumbs up” sign that indicates the machine is clean. It is recommended that members wipe down their equipment after use with a GymWipe or wet rag.

It is required that once a person is finished and has wiped down the equipment that the person flips the “thumbs up” side to the “stop” side. If the “stop” side is up, it is not allowed for use. Staff members will be cleaning equipment after each reservation period.

The REC recommends that members bring reusable water bottles and leave all personal belongings in their car or at their place of residence.

Individual cubbies and lockers will be available on a limited basis. Locker rooms and restrooms will also be open at a limited basis for safety reasons and to maintain physical distancing.


Reservations are required for all spaces past the turnstile except for Courts 3 and 4 and the Upper Level (track area). “Reservations guarantee you a space and time for your workout/activity and can be made up to 48 [hours] in advance. They also keep the building safe as the number of reservations are based on physical distancing, capacity, equipment, staffing, and cleaning/disinfecting needs.”

To enter the Fitness Center or Multipurpose Room, a person must reserve a 75-minute timeslot online or through the UWL REC Sports app. The exercise equipment available in the Fitness Center will be six stair climbers, six treadmills, two curve treadmills, two S drive treadmills, one arm bike, one wind bike, dumbbells, barbells, cable resistance machines, and turf. The Multipurpose Room will have ellipticals only. If a person does not arrive for 15 minutes after the scheduled time slot, the reservation may be canceled.

To reserve a MAC, basketball court, or racquetball court a person must reserve a 30-minute timeslot online or through the app. Only one person is allowed per hoop or half-court, and that person must bring their own equipment. The rental of sports equipment will not be available. If a person does not arrive 10 minutes after the scheduled time slot, the reservation may be canceled.

The Climbing Wall will open Sept. 14 and will require a reservation to enter. Currently, only bouldering is allowed and chalk will not be permitted. Four climbers will only be permitted during one reservation period.

Group fitness classes will still be available in the fall semester, with 42 classes a week. The REC will be implementing virtual classes that members can attend with a group fitness membership.

UWL students, staff, and faulty can still rent bikes, roller-blades, canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards from the Outdoor Connection Center.

To make a reservation, download the UWL REC Sports app or click here.

For any additional questions for the REC, reach out or comment on their post on the UWL Rec Sports FaceBook page. For any additional questions about UWL’s COVID-19 response plan fill out this survey on the UWL website, or call the UWL COVID-19 answer line at (608) 785-8559.