Susan Bassett has a big dream - 40,000 square feet, to be exact.
The Carnegie Mellon director of athletics is committed to making the new University Center fitness facility a reality and she's more than halfway there.
"At CMU, we have the great privilege of teaching future leaders in every industry, to touch lives across the nation," explained Bassett. "My ambition is to optimize everyone's effectiveness - faculty, staff and students - by creating a culture of wellness and physical engagement. I believe that improving our facilities is the one thing that can really be transformative for campus life and will take Carnegie Mellon to the next level."
The new center will encompass everything from weight training to group exercise to indoor jogging and is the second part of a three phase physical fitness and recreation renovation project.
"My goal for the campus is to create a continuum of physical activity that will service the needs and interests of every person here, from the novice to the championship athlete and everyone in between," Bassett noted.
And the need is real - current school facilities are bursting at the seams, from the one jam-packed zumba studio to the overcrowded weight-training spaces.
She believes the success of phase one - construction of the soccer/intramural field - is a perfect example.
"The field was the most cost effective investment the university could make," said Bassett. "We doubled our field space capacity and quadrupled our activity. And the UC fitness center and eventually the phase three Skibo gym expansion will be equally transformative."
That's not all. The new fitness center will provide a welcoming, central gathering space that brings the campus community together, increase CMU's ability to attract the best faculty and students, as well as create an inviting new 'front door' to the university.
"We will be more effective intellectually when we are more physically fit," stressed Bassett. "That's my passion. I want to be in the land of 'yes.' Living in the land of possibilities, doing as much as we can do."