How many places can you think of where you can take classes, be active and meet a group of great people? Is Gentile Hall on that list? Well, maybe it should be. This year, Gentile Hall is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It would be nice to take a moment to appreciate what this building has done for the UMPI campus as well as the community.
Before Gentile Hall was built, the only fitness center on campus was in the gym in Wieden Hall. Amanda Baker, the recreation program director here at UMPI and a graduate of UMPI, remembers those days. She says that Wieden was mostly used by the sports teams. “Students didn’t really have a place to just go and work out,” she said. Now, with Gentile Hall, that has changed. It offers a fully equipped weight room, a pool, a track, a rock wall and a swimming pool. So there are many different recreational options available.
One of the great things about Gentile is that it offers students more work study opportunities. Baker said that between 60-75 percent of the employees are work study students. “We try to limit the non-work study students to the rock wall and the swimming pool,” Baker said. She said that the rock wall has mostly work study students while the pool has mostly non-work study. This has to do with the fact thatnthe pool is open during the summer months. Also, the pool must be run by a certified lifeguard.
Finally, one of the greatest things about Gentile is that it is open to the public. No, it isn’t free. But a membership is affordable for many. “For community members, one month is $40,” Baker said. This allows the community to have a place to enjoy many different kinds of recreation. “We’re all very lucky to have this building,” Baker said.
Keli Marston, Gentile’s fitness/wellness coordinator, also expressed her appreciation of having this building. “It’s one-of-a-kind for Northern Maine,” she said. Marston is also an UMPI graduate, and she did not have this building when she was a student here. “If I could’ve pitched a tent in here, I would have,” she said. She also mentioned how great Gentile was for the community, including the fact that it is the only pool in Presque Isle that is still open. Marston is very proud of what Gentile has to offer. “I’d like to see it continue to grow,” she said.
As Gentile celebrates 10 years, let’s take some time to show our appreciation for this wonderful facility. Without it, the campus would be missing something that has brought much life to the community.