By Jonathan Clink – Collegiate Staff
The Ford Fieldhouse offers free gym, pool and sports activities to students enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College.
The fieldhouse opened in 1976 and has continued to grow as a resource since then. Along with being the main athletic center, the building also has multiple benefits for the GRCC community.
Last year the Ford Fieldhouse hosted 32 GRCC home volleyball and basketball games and 230 student athletes participated in intercollegiate sports in the fieldhouse. Over 3,600 GRCC students participated in the 165 sections of 35 different types of classes that utilized the facility.
Ford Field House Office Manager, Derek Brunn M.S., said students should take advantage of the excellent services available while they can.
“When you’re young, you wanna stay healthy and you wanna stay fit,” Brunn said. “Once you get out and go into the real world… going to the gym is pretty expensive.”
The Ford Fieldhouse offers many ways for the novice athlete to train to excel their game to the next level. Students and members alike are granted access to use the fitness room, basketball courts, volleyball courts, the indoor track and the pool. There are also personal fitness classes with the Fieldhouse’s Health Club is available to all students and faculty free of charge.
A large portion of the student population is actually not aware that these services are offered to them free of charge.
The Ford Fieldhouse was built on the premise of being a community center designed to welcome all members of the community. Patrons of the Grand Rapids area are welcome to tour the facilities.
Non-students can use the facility with a membership package. Packages are available for $40 a month, limited membership for $150 a year, full service membership for $195 a year or $325 for two years. Full service membership includes locker service, towel service and laundry service for workout gear. Locker and towel service is available for $20 a year to those who do not want to commit to the annual full service membership, plus a $15 deposit for towels and locker. Body Mass Index Testing is also included in memberships.
Brunn also addressed how the facility finances itself while providing services free of charge to GRCC students.
“We use the facility on the weekends to host tournaments so funds kinda come from there. I think it’s a standard most colleges and universities offer that service because it benefits everybody.” said Brunn.
The gymnasium seats just under 4,000 spectators for basketball and volleyball. The gym offers up to six basketball hoops or four volleyball courts. The fieldhouse is also used for banquets, concerts, commencement programs, circuses, lectures, and trade shows. The Ford Fieldhouse was also the home court for the Grand Rapids Flight, a semi-professional basketball team, from 2004-2009.
The pool offers six, 25-yard lanes, enjoyed in comfortable 81 degree water. Guests must be 18 years or older to use the pool and there is always a lifeguard on duty.
Pool activities include lap swimming, water exercise, youth competitive swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming and American Red Cross Lifeguard and WSI training. The pool also plays host for GRCC’s water aerobics classes.
In the fitness rooms, GRCC students and Ford Fieldhouse members can choose the state of the art mechanized weight room, or a large free weight room.
The Ford Fieldhouse is also the location for GRCC’s Criminal Justice Department to operate many of it’s trainings for new police officers.
The Ford Fieldhouse is open from 5am to 8pm Monday through Friday. Their office hours are from 8am to 7:30pm. Visit the website for more information and the open activities schedule.
Collegiate Web Editor Kendra Turley contributed to this story.