A fitness center opened on Oct. 30 in Iacocca Hall. The center offers students treadmills, free weights, stationary bicycles, ellipticals and other workout equipment. (Emma Valles/B&W staff)

New fitness center opens in Iacocca Hall


A new fitness center opened in Iacocca Hall to give more resources to students, specifically those who spend time on Mountaintop Campus.

The fitness center, which opened at the end of October, is located directly next to Iacocca Cafe. Named the Mountaintop Fitness Center includes treadmills, free weights, stationary bicycles, ellipticals and other workout equipment. 

All students have access to this fitness center with their Lehigh ID, and some faculty, staff and others may gain access to the fitness center 1-2 business days after filling out an online form. 

The Mountaintop Fitness Center is open from 7 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. seven days a week, in alignment with the hours of the building. 

Part of the Lehigh University Strategic Plan has been centered around making Mountaintop a more accessible and convenient center for student life. 

Douglas Strange, the assistant athletic director for campus athletics/sports performance, played a part in consulting the creation of the Hitch House Fitness Center and now the Mountaintop Fitness Center. 

“We’re always looking at ways to infuse and advance fitness on campus,” Strange said. “It’s never at the pace we want it to be, but we’re always working at it and feel good about this piece to spark some advancement up at Mountaintop.”

While some students don’t frequent the Mountaintop Campus, certain majors are required to spend a large portion of their time at Lehigh taking classes that meet there. For example, the art, architecture and design department hosts the majority of their classes in Mountaintop’s Building C, located directly across the field from Iacocca. The majority of graduate classes take place on the Mountaintop Campus as well. 

Other majors and classes use some of the resources, such as the audio recording studio or the Design Labs woodshop for school or personal projects.

Lauren Ledesma, ‘24, a student in the IDEAS program majoring in architecture and environmental engineering, said she is excited about the opening of the fitness center. 

She said she is happy to see the university is making an effort to improve campus and student life at Mountaintop. 

“It’s a nice option to have when Taylor Gym is full,” Ledesma said. “And after spending hours at Mountaintop doing work, it might be a nice mental break.” 

With the facility being open to all students, the possibility of more traffic at Mountaintop is possible. 

However, according to Strange, the fitness center was not created with the increase of student attraction from other campuses in mind. 

Though he said the fitness center was built for convenience, proximity and time-saving for people often on Mountaintop, Strange said it also adds a “value statement” about how much the university cares for the health of its students.

“We’re trying to do all we can to infuse fitness throughout the campus in different ways the best we can,” Strange said.

First-year students are the only students required to live on Asa Packer Campus, and they are also the only ones not permitted cars on campus. So, any first-years who wish to use the Mountaintop Fitness Center would need to take transportation like a university bus. 

While some students may do this when Taylor Gym and Hitch House Fitness Center are full, some students tend to avoid using the buses more than necessary. 

“I don’t know if it’s going to be a destination to just go there solely for the fitness area, but some may find it more interesting,” Strange said. “Some may find it just a more comfortable space. It’s not the big box of Taylor Gym.”

Ashley Yoon, ‘26, is a graphic design major currently taking two studio classes on Mountaintop Campus. 

Most of her time at Mountaintop is devoted to her classwork, but Yoon says she is excited about the opening of a fitness center for all Lehigh students.

Though she likes the quiet aspect of Mountaintop, she would be happy for more Lehigh students to appreciate it. 

“A lot of people don’t really get the chance to explore the beautiful campus up here,” Yoon said. “If the gym gets more people interested about Mountaintop, then that would be awesome.”

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