A bigger, better Burdick Hall

By Kyle Hobstetter on January 29, 2018

With the expansion, TU now has one of the most comprehensive recreation centers in Maryland.

A bigger, better Burdick Hall has emerged—after three years of construction—to the delight of the Towson University community.

The 94,000-square foot addition expands the university’s campus recreation center and services and offers students, faculty, staff and alumni a state-of-the-art fitness facility. 

Charles Spencer ’18 was one of the first students to get a view of the new Burdick Hall at a soft opening last week. As soon as the Bowie, Md., native walked through the doors, he couldn’t hide his excitement. 

“I can’t believe it…this place is huge, and it’s amazing,” Spencer said. “This place is just amazing, and I wasn’t really expecting this.”

Burdick Hall officially opened this past Saturday, January 27, just in time for the spring 2018 semester. For TU’s Director of Campus Recreation Grady Sheffield, it has been a long time coming.

“It is an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and pride,” Sheffield said. “Not just for me, but everyone involved in this project over the past three years. The impact the facility will have on the entire community is indescribable. It is something that will have an immediate effect on those who use the facility and those that have yet to set foot on campus.” 

For the lucky students who had a chance to see the new expansion early, one of the main sentiments they pointed out was just how big the new space was compared to the old Burdick Hall gym.

“This is four or five times bigger at least,” Campus Recreation employee Mateo Ventura ’20 said. “The old gym would get crowded, so I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get a workout in. But this new building is just honestly amazing. There is something for everyone here no matter what your experience level is.”

With the expansion, Towson University now has one of the most comprehensive recreation centers in Maryland. Some of the new features the TU community can find in Burdick are:

  • Two multi-activity courts with rubber athletic flooring lined for volleyball, badminton and Futsol
  • A state-of-the-art cycling studio with sound, lights and video display
  • A “skills studio” with retractable heavy bag system, speed bags and other equipment used for boxing and skill-based training
  • 22,000-square feet of open fitness floor space for cardio, strength and functional training
  • Brand-new cardio machines, strength training machines, and free weights
  • A sprint hill and simulated stadium stairs for interval training
  • A new outdoor adventures center
  • Three fully equipped studios for group fitness classes

And probably the most popular new feature is a professionally designed “Ninja Warrior” style training course called “The Jungle.” Here, students can try exercising on obstacles based off the hit television show. 

Jonathon Soward ’18 was one of the first people to try “The Jungle.” And while he didn’t complete the course, the biology and chemistry major said his goal is to finish it before he graduates this spring.  

“I love it,” he said while shaking his hands. “My poor fingers have been ripped to shreds trying to mount the last obstacle, but it’s a great way to see where you are weak. I found out I have no finger strength, and now I have to work on it.”

While there is a lot of new inside Burdick Hall, Campus Recreation is keeping a few of the old favorites. This includes the three gymnasia, Burdick Hall pool, and the 33-foot high climbing wall. 

Soward has worked at Campus Rec for over three years, so he was a student who experienced the old Burdick Hall fitness center. After hearing the slogan “Bigger, Better Burdick” for that entire time, he finally understood what it meant when he stepped inside the new expansion.

“It’s way bigger, and way better, but it’s Burdick Hall at its core,” Soward said. “It’s nice we still have that community sense, but we now have more equipment, and more things to play on.” 

Along with providing the students more space to workout, Campus Recreation will also be able to provide on-campus employment for over 300 students each semester. This includes attendants, instructors, supervisors and managers who are responsible for the daily operations of facilities and programs.

“This is a game changer, not only for the department but the university as a whole,” Sheffield said. “Campus Recreation will still be one of the largest facilitators of career readiness competencies that employers look for in college graduates but on a much larger scale and to more students who seek employment on campus.”

Towson University will host a grand opening celebration starting at noon on Wednesday, January 31. The celebration will include refreshments and giveaways.