Parsing Pitt’s student workout facilities


Kaycee Orwig | Visual Editor

The Pitt swimming and diving team has paused all team-related activities “due to COVID-related protocols,” the team announced Wednesday.

By Camryn Simons, Staff Writer

Heading into college, odds are that you’re not a five-star athlete pursued by multiple Division I colleges.

Maybe you grew up playing soccer for an intramural league, or only ever played friendly matches of basketball with your friends at the local court. Maybe you’re a student who only ever went to the gym on a semi-regular basis.

Whether you’re looking for a place to play racquetball with friends, take a quick morning run or join group exercise classes, Pitt offers a wide variety of facilities for active students of all levels of commitment.

Baierl Student Recreation Center

Located within the Petersen Events Center, the Baierl Student Recreation Center holds the title of Pitt’s largest, and most popular, fitness center. The expansive facility has everything a fitness fanatic could ever need a wide variety of cardio equipment, free weights and strength machines.

Baierl contains an aerobic and dance studio, a functional fitness area, a matted area for calisthenics and stretching, a multipurpose room and courts for racquetball and squash.

If you’re on lower campus, don’t let the walk up Cardiac Hill — officially called DeSoto Street — discourage you from working out. Consider the uphill hike a warmup.

Be wary though — its size makes Baierl a popular spot for many students, so try to avoid busy times, such as early mornings and evenings, when lines for equipment make an efficient workout difficult.

Trees Hall

Trees Hall, a short upper campus walk from the Pete on Allequippa Street, contains the most diverse range of facilities for exercise and recreational activity.

Trees boasts a fitness center with strength machines, cardio equipment and free weights, nine racquetball courts, three basketball courts, a multipurpose room with matted flooring, a swimming pool, an indoor climbing wall and an enclosed driving range and putting green.

The indoor pool at Trees consists of two adjoining pools, one large and one small. Mainly used for recreational swimming, team practices and competitions, the larger, Olympic-sized pool contains springboards and a platform. The smaller pool contains six 25-yard lanes and is mainly used for swimming lessons and water aerobics.

Regardless of your experience, the climbing wall at Trees Hall is open to all students and faculty. The climbing wall provides students with various ways to elevate, such as bouldering and top rope. Student staff is available to assist with any questions and climbing equipment is available for rental to all students as well.

Bellefield Hall
Bellefield Hall houses various Pitt offices and services, but the majority of students know it as an easy lower campus workout space with a variety of options.

Inside Bellefield, students have access to regular exercise equipment such as elliptical machines and treadmills, a weight room, a four-lane 25-yard lap pool, a group exercise and dance studio and a mat room.

Bellefield also contains a recently renovated gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and other group activities. These courts can be particularly helpful when the trek up to Trees Hall seems daunting. Bellefield’s location behind Heinz Chapel on South Bellefield Avenue is much more accommodating to those living on lower campus or with limited time between classes.

William Pitt Union Fitness Center

On the third floor of William Pitt Union, students have access to a more limited workout space, but one in the heart of campus.

The WPU Fitness Center consists of mainly cardio machines. In addition, there are rooms designated for aerobics and dance, and a studio cycling room used for calisthenics and group exercise classes.

Some of the group exercise classes offered at the WPU Fitness Center include cycling, Tabata, Zumba and yoga.

Also located on the same floor is the Stress Free Zone, a space for students to learn and practice mind and body stress-reduction skills. The Stress Free Zone provides walk-in services such as mindfulness audio stations, a private space for yoga and meditation, biofeedback, a massage chair and daylight lamp therapy. Classes for both yoga and meditation are offered daily.

24-Hour Residence Hall Centers

For people with busy schedules who can’t find the time to make it up the hill to work out, the 24-hour Residence Hall Fitness Centers provide students with the ability to work out at any time.

Located within many on-campus residence halls, the fitness centers contain a small selection of cardio equipment. Although these facilities are not as expansive as Baierl or Trees, they provide students with a way to exercise without having to leave their dorm building.