Dodds complex offers amenities for new year fitness resolutions

Photo by Greg Gancarz

Photo by Greg Gancarz

Greg Gancarz

Staff Writer

The Dodds Athletic Complex boasts high-tech training equipment, open basketball courts, and specialized trainers, all of which can help Parkland-goers stick to their new year’s resolutions of hitting the gym.

Access to some of the fitness center’s features are free for everyone, including the elevated 80-meter indoor track and the basketball courts, which are usually free to use around noon on weekdays. However, a Parkland-issued ID is required.

Weights, equipment, and machines are available by signing up with the gym for $99 per semester through the WCE 800 membership course.

Students enrolled in several of the high-level kinesiology courses and all faculty members get free access to the personal trainers and all gym equipment.

To earn credits while working out, students can sign up for KIN 103 or KIN 147, both of which provide gym access all semester, as well as a health assessment before and after the course ends. Faculty and those enrolled in KIN 203 and KIN 247 gain access to both the equipment and a personal training session twice a week. Trainers are also available by appointment.

For those looking for some guidance at the gym that don’t want private training, the fitness center also offers numerous group training sessions at locations all over the area, including local pools for classes like water aerobics.

According to Chris Jackson, an international adviser and women’s sports coach at Parkland, the gym’s sports equipment is similar to the amenities provided at the University of Illinois, and even prefers the Dodds center’s equipment to that at the U of I.

The amenities Jackson refers to include equipment as advanced as the VertiMax resistance machines and as basic and simple as safety pods for squats and deadlifts.

Jon Goebel, one of the five supervisors at the gym and an assistant baseball coach, even pointed out the new water wheel rowing machine on site, which uses actual water resistance to give the machine a truly authentic feel in an attempt to replicate real rowing as much as possible.

Goebel says this machine gives an “easy on the joints workout whether you’re an 18-year-old athlete or a 60-year-old faculty member.”

TRX bands—which the company describes as “suspension training equipment”—on all the weight lifting pods also mean that gym-goers have the freedom to “get creative” with their workouts however they see fit, according to Goebel.

If a new year’s resolution isn’t enough of an incentive to get into the gym, consider other possible reasons for exercising, like those of Mike Randall, who has been enrolled in the kinesiology program for several semesters.

“Research has shown that regular exercise improves cognitive functions and increases learning abilities, not to mention all of the benefits to your physical health,” Randall says. “People should absolutely take advantage of this facility.”

Another gym-goer Julie Reynolds makes use of the indoor track, which she had heard about from a faculty member, where she and others can exercise without being subjected to the cold and dreariness of the season.

“It’s free to the community, it’s in a convenient location, and it’s so much nicer than anywhere else you can find to walk or run this time of the year,” Reynolds says.

The Dodds Athletic Complex is located in the P-building on the north end of the campus, next to the M- and X-wings of the main building. It is open 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information on the fitness center, you can call 217-353-2195 or visit, where the link to the Dodds center’s web portal is located on the left-hand side of the page under “Wellness Center.”