Good as Gold

Georgia Tech's Campus Recreation Center is a gold-medal caliber facility

Good as Gold

There is no question that the Georgia Institute of Technology provides a mental workout. Academically, we rank with the best schools in the nation. Georgia Tech also ranks among the most physically fit college campuses in the country. 

Each year, The Active Times compares the country’s top universities to determine which is the fittest. This year, the magazine looked at data from more than 100 colleges and universities. Georgia Tech ranks #33 on their 50 Fittest Colleges in America list. "The Campus Recreation Center is a beauty," notes the magazine.

CRC sign
The facility is known as the CRC for short.

Georgia Tech’s Campus Recreation Center is a collision of campus cultures. You will find the College of Engineering dean working out alongside fledgling freshmen. Guys in Star Wars T-shirts are running on treadmills beside girls sporting their sorority letters.

“America is like a melting pot and so is the CRC,” says nuclear engineering major and physical trainer Enoch McKie. “You see different cultures, hear different languages. People are arguing science or politics. Everything Georgia Tech has to offer is right here in this building.”

Student works out with ropes

The CRC offers a variety of different ways to keep students and staff in shape.

The facility is affectionately known as the CRC for short. What’s not short is the list of ways the CRC can support fitness goals for staff and students. “Any kind of physical activity you’re interested in, it’s there,” says student Ayuko Morikawa. “You can swim in the same pool that Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte swam in.”

Georgia Tech's Campus Recreation Center started as the 1996 Olympic swimming and diving venue.

Georgia Tech's Campus Recreation Center started as the 1996 Olympic swimming and diving venue.

The 300,659-square-foot facility was built to host aquatic events for the 1996 Olympic Games, and was originally an outdoor structure. In 2004, the building was updated and expanded to house a state-of-the-art recreation facility for the Georgia Tech community.

Today, the facility continues to deliver Olympic-caliber physical fitness opportunities to thousands who pass through its doors each month.

Ayuko Morikawa gets some direction from personal trainer Enoch McKie

Morikawa visited the CRC for the first time at FASET, Georgia Tech’s new student orientation program. She describes the facility as breathtaking. “Looking from the outside, I was just like, ‘Wow, we get to work out here?’”

Upon walking in, you immediately get a feeling for how expansive the facility is. Peering off the balcony to the fitness center below, you see dozens and dozens of cardio machines. Many of those are equipped with built-in LCD television screens to provide a little entertainment while burning off the calories.

While the treadmills churn and the ellipticals whir, you will also hear the clang of metal plates indicative of pumping iron. Weight machines and free weights are in full supply. In the distance, racquetballs are being smashed. It’s business administration freshman Christopher Kelley’s favorite part of the entire facility. “Playing racquetball is a great way to get exercise, be competitive, and socialize with friends,” Kelley says.

Christopher Kelley and Daniel Fowle can often be found in the racquetball courts of the Campus Recreation Center.

Christopher Kelley and Daniel Fowle can often be found in the racquetball courts of the Campus Recreation Center.

Take a few steps deeper in to the CRC and you will notice in the distance the Olympic pool the facility was built around. Visit during the right time of day, and you will likely see pint-sized future Olympians flipping and twisting off the diving board or skimming through the lanes. Tucked back in a corner is the massive climbing wall for anyone looking to challenge upper-body strength and test dexterity.

After the Olympic Aquatic Center was enclosed to create the CRC, an upper floor multi-purpose gym was constructed by suspending it from the roof. At the time, it set a record for the world’s largest suspended concrete structure. “I don’t know many places that have the abundance of courts we have,” notes McKie. 

Pick-up basketball game at the CRC

CRC's multi purpose courts on the fifth floor.

Pick-up basketball, volleyball, badminton, even fencing may be happening at any time. The fifth floor indoor track and fitness area offers one of the most inspiring and motivational views of the Atlanta skyline you can find in the entire city. If Georgia Tech is the 19th fittest college in America, this view could definitely take the top spot.

“I think Georgia Tech is ranked so high because its students are naturally dedicated and motivated,” explains civil engineering major Jenna Alchevsky. “The CRC has tons of equipment and space for people which accommodates the high demand.”

“There are many different, fun classes that offer ways to be active and get involved in activities that one may not otherwise get involved in,” says Kelley. Options are as diverse as the people inside. Personal trainers are available to help tailor a workout to achieve specific goals. Yoga and Pilates instructors help keep bodies limber, and dance classes provide workouts with some artistic flair. Martial arts range from Brazilian Capoeira and Krav Maga used by the Israeli military to Muay Thai kickboxing and Shao Lin Kung Fu. 

You can also take a complete 180-degree turn and soothe sore muscles and relieve stress with massage therapy, an offering that many might not expect at a college recreation facility.

15,000 square feet of cardio and workout equipment.

When students talk about why they enjoy the Campus Recreation Center, there is a lot of repetition. Despite the rigors of attending one of America’s premier institutions of higher education, keeping their mind and body fit and healthy includes frequent flyer miles at the CRC.

“I can go and clear my mind during a stressful day,” remarks Alcehvsky. “Some of us joke around by saying, ‘I pretty much live at the CRC,’ but it's truthful to some extent!”

Jenna Alchevsky and her running partner use the track at the CRC

Jenna Alchevsky and her running partner enjoy a run with a view.

Enoch McKie shares those sentiments. “The CRC is my home,” he says. “It’s been a comforting place where I relieve stress from assignments, lab reports, and tests. I’ve met most of my friends here. It’s the best thing I can take away from Georgia Tech.”

Writer: Steven Norris
Photographer: Rob Felt
Graphics: Rhys Black