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Lundberg stopped to take a picture at Hayden Park’s ‘Spirit Rock’ near the start/finish line of the cross country course on Sat­urday, Aug. 29th, while mountain biking with a group of stu­dents and a guest family vis­iting the College. (Courtesy | Bill Lundberg)

This semester, Hillsdale College stu­dents and faculty have been adapting to the tem­porary closing of the George C. Roche Sports Complex. 

In pre­vious years, the Sports Complex, or “Splex,” as it’s often called, has been a staple in the lives of phys­i­cally active stu­dents. Although it re-opened on Wednesday, some stu­dents have found a new routine in Hayden Park. 

“I did go a good amount of times last year,” sophomore Jason Cim­poner said. “I usually used it to work out either in the main workout room or down­stairs. I also used the pool a few times, and the rock climbing wall, as well as the bas­ketball courts.”

Other than classes and sports teams that require its use, the Sports Complex has been closed to stu­dents and the public, affecting many stu­dents’ typical workout rou­tines. 

“It’s ruined it,” sophomore Ben Hanson said. “I lift weights on a daily basis, or when I can at least, so when you lose some­thing that you do for an hour and a half every single day, it def­i­nitely feels weird.” 

Far from an ideal sit­u­ation for stu­dents like Hanson and Cim­poner, many stu­dents have looked for cre­ative alter­na­tives to stay fit. 

“For me, it has just been doing cal­is­thenics — pushups and pullups — every day,” Cim­poner said. “I try going for runs around Hillsdale as much as I can.There’s also an off-campus house that I go to where they have a kind of makeshift gym with a bench press and a few free weights to use.”

For many of those without access to free weights, running has been a go-to workout. Many stu­dents run on the many trails at Hayden Park. 

“I’ve begun running on trails and doing cal­is­thenics through Hayden Park,” Hanson said. “It has big, open trails, there’s plenty of dif­ferent paths, and it’s a pretty good dis­tance.”

Hayden Park has been a common solution for a lot of stu­dents to stay phys­i­cally active.

“It can be a bit frus­trating when you don’t have the things we’re so used to, or these common spaces or places that we use,” Bill Lundberg, director of Hayden Park, said.

The 190-acre park just a half mile east of campus con­sists of wooded trails, a driving range, soccer fields, and sand vol­leyball courts. Stu­dents can borrow the equipment as needed to enjoy all of the park’s activ­ities.

“It’s totally available,” Lundberg said. “If stu­dents need some­thing, we can provide it. We have yard games and standard stuff, like a sand court for vol­leyball, or the driving range, or the mountain bike trails. We have 15 Trek mountain bikes that we can issue to stu­dents.”

Hayden Park has long been a hotspot for stu­dents to play intra­mural sports, but the park has received a new level of activity due to the Sports Complex closure. 

“We utilize it not only with coaches training their team members, but also for classes like the Physical Wellness Dynamics course,” Lundberg said. 

Lundberg rec­og­nized quickly that Hayden would be the perfect escape for stu­dents looking to safely exercise. 

“I saw early on that Hayden was a place that was going to be thriving,” Lundberg said. “We had fam­ilies coming here back as early as March or April when we were fin­ishing up last year. They’re coming out and they’re enjoying the park, and there’s a respect of social dis­tancing.”

Lundberg is ready and willing to help make the park as accom­mo­dating as pos­sible for both faculty, new and returning stu­dents, and outside vis­itors. 

“I’m available for whatever the needs might be,” Lundberg said.  

Lundberg said he is more than excited for the new school year and expects stu­dents to get a lot of use out of Hayden. 

“The park is busy, and we want to just promote the fact that we want more and more people and as many people as we can,” Lundberg said.