Facility Profile - February 2008
Find a printable version here

Grades and Good Health

MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Calif.

By Elisa Drake

It also helps that the Wellness faculty members all have master's degrees in physical education, kinesiology or exercise science. Plus, they all have a physical education certification from one or more certifying boards, and they are all trained in CPR and AED (automatic external defibrillator). It's also nice to know that someone from the staff is on the floor to answer questions at all times. "If someone comes in and they're not using the equipment quite right or they're having some trouble, there's always someone there," Simpson said.

When Hackett came on board in 2003, she realized the equipment was in sore need of an update. Now, the equipment is top-notch, and Hackett and Simpson are like proud parents when they talk about it. "Students are very excited with the new equipment; they continue to tell us they just love the cardio and the circuit," Hackett said.

Because space is so limited at the facility, a lot of thought went into equipment choices. "Commercial facilities have high turnover and new equipment all the time," Hackett noted. "At a community college, the bureaucratic wheel doesn't spin as fast, so you have to be very smart with your purchases and get something that can accommodate a lot of end users."

In the end, they chose a set of Life Fitness selectorized weight machines, which include 12 pieces that work the 12 major muscle groups. "We specifically chose that brand because it can accommodate a greater portion of the student population that we serve," Simpson explained. That's everyone from shorter people to people with orthopedic issues to those who are starting out a little overweight. "It's the same circuit that's at one of the commercial centers down the road," Hackett said.

To make the most of the space, cardiovascular equipment is placed around the perimeter of the room, with the strength circuit in the center. The collection includes four recumbent bikes with built-in fans, five Star Trac treadmills, as well as Precor elliptical machines and StairMaster stairclimbers. At the far end of the room there are free weights, a cable crossover machine, plate-loaded machines and a squat rack for bench-pressing.

There are also two pieces of equipment that specifically address the needs of people with physical challenges. One is the Hoist Wheelchair Accessible Weight Machine, which allows people in wheelchairs to perform 22 exercises including a lat pull-down, bench press and more. It's easily and quickly adjusted and provides a challenging workout. The other is the Upper Body Ergometer, an arm-crank machine that provides a cardio workout for those who have lower-body injuries or impairments.

A small multipurpose room provides space for about 13 students to take one of the core conditioning classes. "We have students who plan their other classes around when they can do a core class; it's got quite a good reputation on campus," Hackett commented.

In addition to the major equipment purchases, the Wellness Center got a cosmetic makeover, with new paint and carpeting. Off-white walls are now complemented by slate blue doors with a trim of cranberry, which matches the upholstery on the strength circuit. "It looks like a design team came in," Simpson said. "It doesn't look super-feminine or super-masculine—it's a comfortable environment." The carpeting is a blended color that picks up the other hues in the facility.

"The nice thing about the facility is we have a lot of natural light in windows and skylights," Simpson noted. When students are working out on the cardio machines, they can imagine themselves hiking up the hills nearby—or maybe swimming in the ocean.


MiraCosta College: www.miracosta.cc.ca.us