Recreation CenterĀ Reopening

After many months apart, we are thrilled to welcome you back to the Gibbs Recreation Center!! We officially opened our doors at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, August 3rd!

We know you are ready to get back to your workout routine, and have appreciated your patience as we worked to implement many new policies and procedures to ensure that you are able to do so comfortably in a safe, clean space. As has been the case with other buildings on campus, our plan is to reopen the facility in phases, with limitations in occupancy and programming expanding each phase. How quickly we move through the phases will depend on guidance from the CDC and EPA, the regulatory laws of the state, and the health of our community (both inside and out of the hedges).

As the facility reopens, you can expect to see many changes, including where equipment is located, how spaces are used, and what services are offered. In addition, we will be introducing new technology, stringent cleaning procedures and physical distancing protocols to support the health and wellness of our members and team. Below is a brief snapshot of some of the changes that we have made. For a comprehensive overview of all the additional measures that we have put in place to safeguard the health of our members and team, please follow this link.

Hours of Operation

For the time being, the Rec Center will be open on a limited basis. Beginning Monday, August 24, our new hours of operation are:

  • Monday - Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Member Reservations

To uphold new physical distancing standards, the Rec Center will only grant access to a certain number of people at a time. Members can reserve one workout per day, starting three calendar days in advance, using our internal reservation system. If you need assistance logging in, please call 713-348-4058 or email us ricerec@rice.edu.

Time slots will be reserved on a first come, first served basis, and must be made at least 3 days in advance, prior to the desired workout time. Individuals may only make a reservation with a current Rec Center membership. If you are an active Rice Staff/Faculty member or a graduate student without a membership, you must first purchase a membership before attempting to reserve a spot. No guests will be allowed in at this time.

Beginning Monday morning, September 28, the Rec Center Cardio Room, Weight Room, and Competition Pool reservation time blocks will be reduced from 75 minutes to 65 minutes, allowing two additional time periods per day. This will be effective for all areas excluding the George R. Brown Tennis Center.

Reservation Space Requirements
With more members making reservations at the Rec Center, we ask that you please stay in the designated area that you made your reservation for so that others can do the same.

Membership to the Barbara and David Gibbs Recreation Center is available for purchase to faculty, staff, retirees, and graduate students of Rice University as well as to their spouse/domestic partner. Summer memberships are also available for additional fees to graduate and undergraduate students. Membership to the Recreation Center for undergraduate students is included with their semester payments to the University.

Equipment Checkout/Towel Service/Water Fountains

In order to maintain effective physical distancing, we have reimagined much of our space, and our gyms and multipurpose rooms have been repurposed for the time being. At this time, we will not be checking out any equipment (this includes weight belts, stretching mats and pool equipment), nor providing towel service. Our water bottle fountains have been replaced with bottle fillers so that patrons can stay hydrated without drinking from a shared source. We encourage everyone to bring their own towel and water bottle with them to the facility.

Locker Room and Locker Rentals

Locker rooms remain closed at the time. There are restrooms available on each floor and on the pool deck, and patrons are free to utilize those spaces as needed. Showers will not be available.

Our locker rental service will remain on pause until the locker rooms themselves are reopened. However, patrons can still utilize the day use lockers located throughout the building.

Aquatic Center and Outdoor Spaces

The competition pool will be open, and lap swim will be available. Patrons who wish to swim can reserve lane space three days in advance via the same reservation system mentioned above. Lanes will be restricted to one swimmer only. Swimmers needing additional assistance entering and exiting the pool will be assigned the lane with ADA lift. The recreation pool will remain closed.

Lap swim lanes will be limited to the following days and times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The Outdoor Training Park will be open and available for use. Patrons are asked to respect physical distancing guidelines, and to wipe down equipment after use. Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be provided.

The George R. Brown Tennis Center is open and operating under the following policies:

  • Beginning Friday, October 2 at 6:00 a.m. each court will be available to play on eight (8) courts with respect to proper physical distancing.
    • Play is limited to singles practice/matches, no doubles.
    • Only current Recreation Center members may reserve and use the George R. Brown Tennis Center. No guests are allowed at this time.
  • Recreation Center members are to use their personal equipment only. Equipment checkout will not be available at the Rec Center.
  • As with any of the Recreation Center facilities, masks are required, even while playing at the George R. Brown Tennis Center.
  • Recreation Center members are allowed one (1) reservation per day and may not book multiple reservations at the George R. Brown Tennis Center in a single day.
    • Reservations can be made three (3) days in advance, 15 hours before.
    • All reservations will be in 75-minute time blocks for practice/play.
  • The George R. Brown Tennis Center will be open the following days and times:
    • Monday - Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
    • Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
  • By making a reservation, you are reserving a space to play on a court with an already determined partner, who is also a current Recreation Center Member. BOTH players MUST make a reservation to play together.
  • The courts that are available to play, will be first come, first served during the designated reservation time.
    • You and your partner are allowed to play on only one (1) court at a time during the designated reservation time you signed up for.
    • All individuals must independently swipe their current Rice ID to gain access and track their reservation times at the George R. Brown Tennis Center. If each person neglects to swipe their ID, this will be tracked as a "no-show" for your reservation time, and may result in membership suspension.
    • You may not swipe in for someone else, and you may not hold the door open for others to follow through (as everyone must swipe in on their own).

S.W.E.A.T. and Mind/Body Classes

S.W.E.A.T. and Mind/Body classes will continue to be offered virtually for the time being. As a member, you will have free access to all S.W.E.A.T. and a handful of Mind/Body classes. Non-members can purchase virtual class passes. Our hope is to be able to offer in-person classes soon, and we will reach out to let you know when/if the time comes. For more information, please click here.

Miscellaneous (but relevant) Information

For the foreseeable future, all patrons must wear a mask for their entire visit to the facility. This includes during your workout.

Gym wipes and hand sanitizer stations will be available. While we will be following a strict cleaning schedule, please wipe down any equipment that you use, before and after you use it.

Rice IDs will be required to access the facility. Patrons with reservations, but no identification, will forfeit his/her time slot.

As our reopening is a bit of an unfolding process, you can expect to find up to date information regarding what's available in the facility, and our fall schedule of classes and programs by continuing to visit our website.

We look forward to seeing you back in the building soon!