CAP to include Performance Center

Gannon University is constructing Erie’s first human performance center. The center comes as part of the renovations the university’s Carneval Athletic Pavilion will undergo this summer. The center is expected to be fully renovated by the fall of 2014.

Carolynn Masters, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs, said the center will include two different facilities. One is a human performance lab dedicated to conducting cardiovascular testing, strength and bone density testing and other types to test to improve exercise and workout patterns.

The second part of the center will be a motion-analysis lab providing physical therapy services and treatment plans customized based on the individual’s results in certain targeted tests. Masters said the lab will have specialized software that tracks movement, offering feedback on possible improvements.

Jason Willow, Ph.D., an assistant professor in sport and exercise science, said the lab will be a high-tech facility dedicated toward improving performance and physical abilities for sedentary and active individuals alike.

“The purpose of the center is to encourage those who are or wish to be physically active to do so, but in a healthy manner that utilizes their strengths and keeps them motivated,” Willow said.

He said the lab will help pinpoint the mistakes individuals unknowingly do while working out – like picking the wrong type of running shoes, which results in injury – and correct misinformation they have as well.

Such misconceptions include experiencing muscle pain after working out after a long time of physical idleness.

“They would think they did something wrong,” Willow said. “That thinking discourages them, and they don’t know that what they’re experiencing is normal.”

Christine Legters, Ph.D., an associate professor in physical therapy, said the center will also provide motion analysis and physical therapy services to individuals who need it. She said it will provide students with hands-on experience with equipment they are most likely to deal with once they start their careers.

“I hope that we not only provide real learning experiences for the students, but also provide service to the Gannon and Erie community more so than we are providing now,” she said.

Legters said the intent behind those wellness services is for the students and faculty to do annual physical therapy examinations on all Gannon’s employees.

“In addition to going for your annual physician checkup, we want people to start thinking about the importance of going to their annual physical therapy checkup, too,” she said.

The center will serve as a space for collaboration between faculty and students in the physical therapy, sport and exercise science, human performance, occupational therapy and biomedical engineering programs.

Masters said the construction of the center falls within the strategic mission and goals of the university.

“The center will set the university apart from other universities in the area and will prepare our students for the outside world so they can be the best at what they do,” Masters said.

She also added that the center will encourage prospective students to attend the university and help retain current students as well.

“This center will set us apart from other universities and help attract students to our campus,” she said.

Construction of the field house will begin this summer with the demolition of Crispo Apartments, a residence hall housing upperclassmen.



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