Archive for Saturday, August 17, 1991


August 17, 1991


You might call it Lawrence's biggest indoor playground Kansas University's Robinson Center.

During the day, the 250,000-square-foot building is primarily used for classes by KU's health, physical education and recreation department.

But in the early morning, after classes and on weekends, the building takes on something of a health club atmosphere for the university's athletic-minded set.

The center, which is at the southeast corner of Sunnyside Avenue and Naismith Drive contains facilities for a wide range of sports, from basketball and swimming to fencing and wall climbing.

About 4,000 people use Robinson's classrooms and recreation facilities on a daily basis, says Allan Heinze, physical education-recreation facilities director.

THE CENTER is open to KU students, faculty and staff and their dependents over the age of 18.

"Recreationally we run over 250,000 hours per year," Heinze said.

Like to pump up, trim down or just break a sweat?

There's a 5,200-square-foot fitness room, with universal weight equipment as well as free weights, aerobic cycles, rowing machines and a treadmill.

"This year we're putting in two new stair climbers and another aerobicycle," Heinze said.

The weight room is open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for open recreation and classes are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The facility is open for drop-in recreation from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Supervisors are available for lifting assistance. For safety reasons, people under age 18 are not admitted in the weight room.

Robinson also features six multipurpose gymnasiums, each with floor markings for basketball, volleyball, badminton and European Team Handball.

THE CENTER also has a gymnastics room, equipped with apparatus such as rings, balance beams, parallel bars, horse and a floor exercise area. The room is available for recreational use during the spring and fall semesters.

A children's gymnastics program is offered in cooperation with Lawrence's parks and recreation department as both a service to the community and to provide a laboratory setting for physical education and recreation students, Heinze said.

There are two swimming pools in the center's natatorium, which is used for instruction and competitive swimming and diving.

The center also has 15 racquetball-handball-squash courts, a lifetime sports-combatives room, a multipurpose room and saunas.

Robinson also has men's and women's locker areas, each of which has saunas. Robinson also has a service center that offers locker rentals, a lost and found, towel checkout, equipment checkout, information services and reservations for racquetball, handball and squash courts. Sports equipment can be checked out, including racquetball rackets and goggles, table tennis paddles, badminton and tennis rackets, basketballs and volleyball standards.

THE CENTER also has a picnic package available for groups to check out, which includes a volleyball and volleyball net, a softball bat, a catcher's mask, two softballs and three bases.

The building also has scientific facilities used by the health, physical education and recreation department to conduct tests and academic research.

One of those is the fitness clinic, where people can get a fitness profile of themselves, using stress tests on a treadmill and oxygen intake.

"It's used in research," Heinze said. "Or if you work out, you can come back six months later and see how much you've improved."

Other research areas are the wellness center, the kinesiology, sports psychology and exercise physiology laboratories and the perceptual motor clinic.

Robinson also houses KU's recreation services office, which sets up team and intramurals on a year-round basis.

MEN'S, women's and coed division are offered in such sports as basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball. The office also schedules such events as wallyball, wrestling and triathlon competitions. The sports club program offers more than 30 different sports activities, including crew, soccer, ki-aikido and lacrosse.

Those who love to climb mountains will get a treat at the center this fall.

"We hope to have in during the fall a new climbing wall," Heinze said. "People can practice climbing like they would in the mountains of Colorado. On that wall will be different holds so they can actually climb up."

Heinze said there are several mountain climbers among KU's population.

"A lot of those people they will take trips to Colorado, whether it's climbing, hiking or skiing," he said. "Also, we have a number of Colorado students here who have been climbing for a while. And it's kind of tough to go climbing in Lawrence. This will give them an opportunity to maintain their skills and their strength."

HE SAID it will also be used to teach novice climbers how to climb and help them develop the hand and arm strength and agility to climb, he said.

Heinze also is in charge of Anschutz Pavilion, which is just west of Allen Fieldhouse. Anschutz is available for indoor jogging for students, faculty and staff from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. October through April.

Heinze oversees several outdoor facilities, some of which adjoin Robinson Center. Those include five football fields, four softball fields, one cricket pitch and 15 tennis courts.

Thirteen of the tennis courts are just south of Robinson Center.

The Shenk Sports Complex, which is at the northwest corner of 23rd and Iowa streets, has a rugby field, a LaCrosse field, an ultimate Frisbee field, a soccer field, five football fields and a cricket pitch.

KU also is developing an initiative-confidence course called the Adams Campus, near the southern border of Clinton Lake west of Lawrence. The 210-acre site will include a ropes course, an orienteering course, an archery range, nature trails and fitness trails.

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