Penn State Wilkes-Barre athletic building welcomes back community


LEHMAN TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —  Staying fit is important for many reasons, especially as we inch closer to flu season during a pandemic. For many, the pandemic has upended those good exercise habits we had before the COVID crisis began.

Some of us may have put on unwanted pounds or lost some vital strength and conditioning. It’s why Tuesday’s reopening of a local athletic center to the public is so important for one community.

Penn State Wilkes-Barre Athletic and Recreation building is no longer just for students and staff. The public is welcome here for the first time since March 2020.

“It’s really awesome getting to see that not only students and faculty can use this, but getting to see community members coming back, it’s really bringing life back to the campus,” Penn State Wilkes-Barre super senior Victoria Vespico said.

“I love it up here so honestly, the more the merrier. I love people, working out and love seeing people working out so it’s awesome,” stated junior Rian Long.

What was definitely not awesome were pandemic restrictions the past year and a half, which reduced access for students and faculty and eliminated it for the community.

“We have people here that have been coming here for 30 years, 35 years and they’re excited to be able to come back,” explained Scott Miner, the Athletic Director of Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

While the weight room, which also includes stationary bikes and treadmill equipment, is a place to pursue optimal health, being stuck at home without an exercise routine could have the opposite effect.

“If you kind of fall behind, you know, the motivation to get back into it sometimes is difficult for people,” said Leslie Livingston, a Kinesiology Instructor at Penn State Wilkes-Barre.

She says it’s hard to recover from that. It’s why she urges you to start slow with a goal of getting back into shape if you’ve been a couch potato during the pandemic.

“They see the progress step by step. They become more motivated to do well,” explained Livingstone.

“Getting back into physical fitness and getting back into being able to work out and get involved with my athleticism was really important to me,” said Vespico.

Penn State’s Athletic and Recreation building is open Monday through Saturday. Masks must be worn inside the building.

To learn more about the hours and all that’s available you can head to the Penn States Wilkes-Barre Athletic and Recreation building’s website.

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