UC Santa Barbara Reopens the Recreation Center at Limited Capacity

Photo Courtesy of UCSB

Alexandra Wishowski

Isla Vista Beat Reporter

With Santa Barbara County finally falling into the less restrictive red-tier of the state’s reopening plan along with the lifting of the regional stay-at-home order, UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Recreation Center (Rec Cen) has been approved by Chancellor Yang to begin its reopening with the ultimate goal of returning to normal, in-person activities. 

Since March of 2020, the Rec Cen had been closed due to UCSB shifting to online learning at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While in-person services were unavailable, the Department of Recreation offered online programming to students such as “Get up Gauchos!” and virtual personal training

The Rec Cen will now be open beginning Monday, April 12. The first phase of the reopening plan requires reservations from UCSB students, faculty, and staff, as well as those with active Recreation Center memberships. Reservations are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on the weekend from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Patrons may reserve spaces in the large pool, the small pool, the outdoor climbing tower, and the outdoor fitness area. In accordance with California’s reopening guidelines, everyone who uses the Rec Cen’s outdoor fitness areas is required to wear a face covering at all times.

Equipment available in the outdoor fitness area will consist of “Cardio Equipment, Circuit Training Machine Weights, Schwinn Cycling Bikes, Squat Racks, Bench Presses, Dumbbell Racks, and Turf Area,” according to a campus-wide email sent out by the Department of Recreation during the first week of spring quarter.

However, reservations are not required for physically distanced activities at the “Rec Cen Fields, Tennis Courts, Pauley Track, and Storke Field,” as stated by a subsequent email of the department. 

The Rec Cen encourages students to cancel their reservations as soon as possible if they are unable to be present for their reserved time by going to the “Bookings” section under their profile. Multiple missed reservations result in revoked Rec Cen privileges. 

Further announcements in the email included important details about other recreational programs and services offered by the department. With the indoor Rec Cen facility remaining closed, lockers and showers at Rob Gym and the Multi-Activity Court will be unavailable to patrons throughout the spring quarter. 

Personal fitness training will be made available both in-person and online, while UCSB Adventure Programs will offer in-person activities during spring quarter such as campus point rentals, outdoor gear rentals, kayaking, and outdoor climbing. The Rec Cen’s passport services will also begin to offer limited single-person appointments at the start of May.

For students living away from campus, virtual programming and events will continue to be offered – excluding Gaucho Recreation & Exercise Classes. Besides signing up for fitness classes and events on Shoreline  — which is the official online campus engagement platform for UCSB — intramural e-sports and nutritional counseling will also be available. 

In preparation for a full reopening, the Department of Recreation is also offering employment opportunities for lifeguards, swim instructors, and junior guard instructors as well as surfing and kayaking instructors. Additionally, students are invited to apply as camp counselors for upcoming summer programs. 

In order to gain entry into any campus building, weekly COVID-19 testing and a daily COVID-19 Screening Survey must be completed by students. Both testing and this survey can be accessed through the Student Health Services portal. Students living, working, or taking classes on campus are already enrolled in these protocols. 

To access the Rec Cen, students must email sa-ucsb-covid19-it@ucsb.edu to become enrolled in the weekly COVID-19 testing and daily symptom survey. Completing the requirements on time will grant undergraduate students a green clearance badge on the Student Health portal in order to enter the facility.


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