August 31, 2021

How the University of Central Florida Chose to THRIVE During the Pandemic

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Kyra Dickie is the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation at UCFWhen Kyra Dickie, Assistant Director of Fitness at the University of Central Florida, first heard about the CDC’s recommendations to exercise outdoors rather than indoors, her first thought was to get outdoor fitness equipment for the campus. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted college students on various levels and has forced universities to think about operations differently. But there are always silver linings to unfortunate events, and the idea to add a new piece of outdoor fitness equipment to the UCF campus will have benefits that will long outlive the ramifications of the coronavirus. 

Planning for the Future

During the summer of 2020, Kyra and a group of about 15 others started discussing bringing outdoor fitness equipment to the UCF campus. The group consisted of staff and students. They evaluated a few options and decided to work with GameTime and their exclusive central Florida representative, Dominica Recreation Products (DRP). 

“It was important for us to hear from people who would use the equipment, so that’s why we gathered student feedback,” said Kyra. “It was also important to work with a company that has a local presence. There’s a great peace of mind knowing that Kurt is right up the road.” 

Kurt Halter, territory manager for DRP, helped lead the project and worked with Kyra and her team. 

“Working with Kyra and her team was an absolute pleasure. She came prepared with plans and backup plans and even knew what angle to position the equipment in relation to the sun,” said Kurt. “There are many details that go into planning outdoor recreation spaces that users may not exactly notice or appreciate, but students at UCF who use the THRIVE unit can rest assured that Kyra and her team thought of everything!” 

Kurt Halter is the territory manager for Dominica Recreation Products, a GameTime representativeOnce the team decided on the THRIVE outdoor gym, the decision of where to put it came next. “It was one of the most challenging decisions we had to make since everyone had their thoughts on where it should go,” said Kyra

They constructed it in their on-campus park, RWC Park, which features multiple playing fields for outdoor activities. The location increases usage naturally. Teams can warm up on the equipment before a game or tack on a workout after one. Plus, it’s there for anyone to spend some time with a fun activity while waiting to watch a game. 

“A priority was visibility and access of the piece of equipment for faculty, staff, and students. Ours is near a parking lot as well, so it’s easy to access,” said Kyra. “We also included wayfinding signage and are planning programs on the equipment, so every student has a chance to experience it!”

Multifunctional Fitness 

The THRIVE 450 unit is ideal for functional fitness training and can accommodate up to 10 users at a time in about 450-square feet. UCF also opted for the integrated shade to keep that hot Florida sun at bay. The seven stations on the equipment include: 

  • Variable monkey bars
  • Knee-lift dip station
  • Slamball target 
  • Variable pull-up station
  • Step-up platforms
  • Swedish ladder 
  • Decline sit-up bench 

Something for Everyone 

“I believe in diversifying options for everyone to create a more inclusive environment for students,” continued Kyra. “There are pieces on the installation itself that novice exercisers can use and feel confident using. It’s for everyone - everyone can challenge themselves on this equipment.”

In addition to providing a place for people of all fitness levels, the THRIVE equipment also appeals to students with varying and often unconventional schedules. The always-open outdoor equipment offers great stress relief for students who may be in the middle of finals week and only have a few minutes late at night to sneak in a break. 

“Environmental wellness is important too and working out outdoors is a really great thing,” said Kyra. “Fresh air and sun and being able to exercise socially - those are all great benefits of having the new equipment on our campus.” 

Focused on Fitness

UCF is located in Orlando, Florida. The school has nearly 72,000 students and over 12,000 academic and administrative staff. There’s always been a big emphasis on recreation on the campus. There’s an on-campus lake, two recreation and wellness centers, courts for all the different sports, and numerous intramural sports are offered as well. THRIVE fits right in with this activity-focused campus! 

“I think that with Covid, everyone is looking to exercise outdoors more often,” said Kurt. “We are going to see a lot more outdoor fitness in the future. I like the direction of outdoor fitness, especially in Florida, where you can be outdoors 365 days a year.” 

If your college campus is ready to take fitness outside, contact the GameTime fitness expert in your college town today.