SALISBURY, MD---For the first time in 30 years, Salisbury University students will have access to new campus recreational facilities. Today the Salisbury University Foundation announced that it has approved the purchase of the Merritt Racquetball and Fitness Club on Milford St., on the periphery of campus.
A transition period for Merritt’s employees and loyal club members has been enacted by the current owner and founder, Ronald F. Jones. The longtime health club will become available for student use this fall.
“Merritt has been a part of the community for 30 years,” said Jones. “I am happy to see that it will continue its life serving young athletes and becoming part of a University with vigorous health and recreational programs.”
In 2005 SU was voted one of the top 15 healthiest campuses in the U.S. by Men’s Fitness magazine.
The health club has an ideal location for SU students and its athletics program. The two-story, 15,919 square-foot metal building, a full service facility with racquetball courts, nautilus circuit training, cardio-training and weight rooms, aerobic studio and men’ s and women’s locker rooms, is located at the corner of Wayne and Milford streets, adjacent to the University’s Indoor Tennis Center. (The Tennis Center was purchased by SU in 1990 but does not offer the breadth of services of its next door neighbor.) Merritt’s back yard abuts SU’s soccer fields. Merritt is also just a few yards away from University Park, a major residential complex housing SU students.
“We’ve been looking for an opportunity to expand the campus fitness space,” said Ed Thomas, SU Foundation chairman. “I can’t think of a better site for such a facility serving students.”
The last comprehensive recreational building dedicated to student use was Maggs Physical Activities Center, which opened in 1977. At that time SU’s student population was 4,300 (compared to nearly 7,600 today).
Besides Maggs, students in 1977 also had access to Tawes Gym on campus. Tawes, however, was torn down during the construction of Fulton Hall, which opened in 1992, leaving students with only Maggs.
In a Housing and Campus Life Survey this year, students listed adequate and accessible exercise, recreational and athletic training facilities as one of their largest needs.
SU is home to Healthy U, Learn With SU (a program offering short courses, including those in health and recreation, to people over 50) and the Eastern Shore Senior Games. Merritt may provide opportunities for these and for other SU programs serving the community to expand.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.