Campus Workout

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stairwayWhether you swim, play racquetball, practice yoga, rock climb, lift weights, or workout on elliptical machines—the Kilpatrick Athletic Center has you covered. With more than 58,000 square feet of state of the art space, diverse athletic equipment and memberships available to Berkshire residents, the KAC is more like a private athletic club than a campus gym. “Students love it,” says Director of the KAC, Dave Collopy. “And our members call it the best kept secret in the Berkshires.”

And in a way, it sounds like a secret. Regardless of when you visit, the KAC is remarkably quiet. “That’s the brilliance of the design,” says Collopy. In 1999, when the KAC was built, architects factored in that students would share the space with members. Knowing it’d be a happening place, they created several wings. Within each corridor, there are smaller rooms dedicated to aerobics, circuit training, swimming, basketball, track, or racquetball (to name a few). The result allows patrons to workout without intimidation or cacophonous noise typically associated with athletic centers of this size.

But, if you’re looking for some noise, you won’t have to go far to find it. Step into the 8-lane, 25-yard, spring-fed indoor swimming pool area during team practice; or cheer on the Llamas when they hold a meet on campus. It gets pretty spirited. Most students will tell you that this is largely because of Bill Meir, the coach. Like all coaches at the college, it’s not just about winning with Bill; it’s about how you grow in the process of competing. That approach has brought swimmers and non-swimmers to the team—and has helped to impact student development inside and outside of the pool. “Bill is not just a coach, he’s a man of guidance,” Senior Kyaw Moe Tun says during a convocation speech this year. “Due to him, I realize the meaning of patience. Through him, I came to appreciate different perspectives on life.”

male swimmerThat sentiment is just what the coaches are aiming for when they rally the teams at practice and in competition. Of course, not all students are interested in team sport. But Collopy says that’s okay. “The best thing we can do here is to help students discover a passion for physical activity and healthy living, and in the process give them a place to develop lifelong friendships.” He says, that means that their approach to physical education is multifaceted. “It’s not just about winning and workouts here; we teach students and members how to achieve balance of mind, body, and spirit.”

Not surprisingly, Collopy and his staff have gone far to ensure there’s something for everyone. The KAC has seriously diversified offerings, activities and resources. “Some people may gravitate to the racquetball courts or the cardio equipment, some students are going to want to play a sport,” Collopy motions around, “We want this place to be for everyone; there’s something here for everyone.”

If you’re the kind of person with an aversion to traditional workouts, you’ll probably appreciate the rock climbing wall, Ultimate Frisbee games, the variety of yoga and tai chi classes, the indoor track, or meditation, fencing, and kayaking opportunities. If you’re the type that does better with a little one-on-one attention, the KAC has trainers available for personal training sessions. If you need some help getting on track with diet and exercise, nutrition counseling packages are available with the onsite nutritionist, Rebecca Hunter. However, don’t expect that she’ll regurgitate the principals of the standard one-size-fits-all diets. Hunter takes individual circumstances into account before she works with you to craft a healthy lifestyle and eating framework.

While the KAC is an athletic center, it’s also a place for socializing, taking it easy, hanging out, and connecting with new people. “Because we opened the facility to Berkshire residents, our students end up meeting new people in their own space, on their own terms,” explains Collopy. In fact, he says, that’s how a lot of them secure jobs in town. And the members like having a chance to meet and get to know students—most get to know them in aerobics or yoga classes.

If networking is not your thing, don’t sweat it. The huge lobby with café bar and table seating is an ideal place to chill out with a good book and a packed lunch. Some students tuck away in the swimming observation rooms for quiet time when they’re not cheering their swimmers on. The point, Collopy says, “is to make sure that every student feels like there’s something here for them.” In many ways, Collopy says, “It’s not just a gym, it’s a social space.”

Not a member yet? Join in January to take advantage of the year’s best membership packages and discounts. Call, email, or visit for pricing and information. The Kilpatrick is open Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.