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Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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Rec center still a success in the summer

Cristina Esquivel
Basketball is one of the more popular sports at the rec center. The facility has two regulation sized basketball courts in all.

Since it re-opened in the fall of 2011, UTEP’s $32-million recreation center is the place for students to exercise.  During the fall and spring semesters, the Student Recreation Center parking lot is usually crowded and the tri-level building is filled with the sounds of the clanging and banging of weights, balls bouncing, students running, jumping and climbing.

“During the summer, the center remains open and the activities are mostly the same, just on a smaller scale,” said Hector Muñoz, director of the center.

“We are hitting 1,800 users per day Monday through Thursday,” Muñoz said. “In the summer, there is a decline to around 1,000 a day.”

The recreation center, which boasts a state-of-the-art cardio studio and two pools, also in-cludes rock climbing walls as well as soccer, racquetball and basketball courts. All of its exer-cising options are available in fall, spring and summer to students enrolled in either of the summer sessions.

Different fitness classes like spinning kickboxing, yoga and Zumba are of-fered throughout the summer at different times and days.

Sophomore Rodrigo Acosta, an Economics major, is attending UTEP in the summer, goes to the recreation center to play basketball and uses the free weights area.  He believes the facility is top class.

“I’ve visited other campuses and its gyms but this facility is the best, its so modern” said Acosta.

One of the differences between activities in the fall and spring and the summer sessions can be found in the way intramural activities are conducted.  Instead of having long season-like competitions followed by an elimination stage, summer intramurals are much shorter, with single or double elimination tournaments.  Recreational Sports, which is in charge of organiz-ing each intramural tournament, schedules a different sport each week.  

“What we have learned throughout the years is that kids don’t like getting tied to the sched-ule, because of the intensity of the summer programs hosted in Academics,” Muńoz said.

Intramural sports offered in the summer include volleyball, table tennis, bowling, basketball, racquetball and indoor soccer.

The outdoor adventure program is another service that students can take advantage of during the summer.  They seek to provide students with an opportunity to get to know the areas around El Paso.

Junior accounting major Greg Contreras, enjoys the rec center in all aspects.

“I think it’s amazing that the rec is so involed with students and outdoor activities,” said Contreras. “The prices are phenomenal, which allows students on a budget to afford trips like ski apachi.”

Students have a chance to register for trips organized by the department to visit several places such as White Sands or Ruidoso, New Mexico, for a very affordable and convenient price.  Muńoz said the program is meant to be affordable.

“We try with those outdoor trips not to impact the student with the fee, we take a hit. The idea is to basically give the students the opportunity to have the experience,” Muńoz said.

Rec sports also offer a rental program for equipment for those who want to explore on their own.

“We have a large inventory of backpacks, canopies, tents, bikes, you name it,”  Muńoz said.

This equipment can be rented for a day, a week, and even the whole summer, as students have done when traveling to Europe or, specifically this summer, those traveling to the World Cup.

Similar to the outdoor program is the challenge course, which is an activity for groups.  The main objective is team building through a series of physical challenges that can be completed in a full-day or half-day session. 

Membership for regular use of the Student Recreation Center is included in students’ tuition.  For those students that are not taking any summer classes at UTEP, the opportunity to use the facility is still available.  Students who attended UTEP in the spring semester can purchase a summer membership for $50.

The rec center might not offer all of the amenities it does in the fall or spring, but it is still worth going to if you happen to stay in town for the summer. For more information on the operation hours and activities offered go to

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected].  

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Rec center still a success in the summer