Shaye Portillo feels at ease knowing there are new weights and racks at the often-crowded Southwest Recreation Center.

On Nov. 14, the center got new weights for the squat rack and the leg press machine, which cost the recreation center $9,049, said Leah Shelley, the assistant director of fitness programs at Southwest Rec.

Shelley said the gym purchased three weights to go on each peg of the squat racks and got six 45-pound plates for each leg press machine.

“We purchased this much because there was a constant redistribution each day of the weights from students’ usage, leaving many pegs empty and causing students to interrupt each other to gain access to weights that were only available on occupied machines,” Shelley said.

Portillo, a UF business administration junior, works at Southwest Rec about three times a week. Portillo said the additional weights will help the center and students.

“They will definitely help with how hectic it can get during busy hours in the gym,” the 20-year-old said.

Sophia Galvez, a UF nutritional sciences junior who uses the gym about three times a week, said she was excited to hear about the new weights and racks.  

“Getting new weights is great, it can become so hectic in the weight room when all you need is to grab one weight to put on the machine,” the 20-year-old said.

Shelley said students found it uncomfortable and distracting to squeeze between someone using a squat rack to grab a specific weight plate, which inspired the center to get new materials. Shelley said over 2,000 people go to Southwest Rec each day, and they wanted to improve the gym experience and promote safety.

“This increase in weights allows for a safer and more convenient environment for all patrons,” Shelley said.