Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Fitness Center to get vacation makeover

The Coors Fitness Center is only nine years old but it’s already facing a bit of cosmetic surgery.

The newest nip and tuck will be to the entrance, which will be relocated this summer from the south side of the building near Gates Field House to a west-facing entrance in the concourse of the Ritchie Center.

The change will require moving the fitness center’s sign-in desk to the west side of the room and redistributing exercise equipment on the main floor. It also will allow construction of an apparel store and a grab-and-go coffee and cold food stand near the new sign-in area.

Equally important, says Stu Halsall, assistant vice chancellor of recreation and building operations, is that the renovation will permit recreational use of the former Heckman Pioneer Store on the Ritchie Center’s second floor.

“We gain what was formerly a store open 18 nights a year for hockey and that is now open 364 days a year running a variety of programs,” Halsall says.

The renovation will begin in July and conclude at the end of August and the fitness center will remain open during construction.

“It’s a better use of space and that’s what we’re interested in,” University Architect Mark Rodgers says.

The change reflects an ongoing shift in the way sports apparel is sold at the Ritchie Center. Previously, sweatshirts, hats and other merchandise were sold in the 1,200-square-foot Heckman Store, an operation run by the DU Bookstore.

Last October, Athletics began selling sports gear at kiosks in the Ritchie Center concourse during games and special events. The experiment worked.

“We did $60,000 in gross sales out of two kiosks,” Halsall says.

Building on that success has meant adding the new shop at the entrance to the fitness center, which averages 45,000 visits per month. It also will mean adding a second site near the Joy Burns Ice Arena at the north end of the building, launching an online ordering center at, and deploying its kiosks to new markets.

“How would you find a store in the Ritchie Center if you’re coming to watch a lacrosse game?” Halsall says. “With our kiosks, we’re right out there, available and making sales. With a fixed sales point, the outreach is only so far. With portable, we can get to other places.”

Apparel will continue to be sold at the Bookstore, Halsall says, but that operation will handle its own styles and selection. It no longer will be connected with sales at the Ritchie Center, where offerings will stick to school colors and designs and emphasize four markets: history and tradition; student active wear; workout gear; and “authentic” apparel such as jerseys.

“You won’t see us having pink sweatshirts,” Halsall says. “It’s going to be crimson and gold and some neutrals like grays, blacks and whites.”

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