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The Renovation

Northwest’s Board of Regents, in March 2014, approved the renaming of the former Foster Aquatic Center to the Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center. The Northwest community subsequently gathered in May 2014 for a ceremony to celebrate the renaming and the Foster family's legacy. That ceremony – attended by dozens of current and former University administrators, faculty and staff, and friends – featured Jasinski talking with the Fosters’ sons, Robert Foster III and Doug Foster, before an unveiling of a sign with renderings of the new facility.

Dr. Robert Foster served as Northwest's president from 1964 to 1977. Under Dr. Foster's leadership, the campus saw extensive growth and the construction of several facilities, including the Garrett-Strong Science Building, the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building, the high-rise residence halls and the Valk Center, in addition to a major expansion of the J.W. Jones Student Union. Dr. Foster was instrumental in the creation of the Northwest Foundation, which funded the construction of the Memorial Bell Tower – a campus icon that also was completed during Foster's presidency. He also had a leading role in securing funding to establish KXCV/KRNW, Northwest's award-winning 100,000-watt National Public Radio affiliate. Dr. Foster died in 2008 at the age of 90.

The structure initially opened in 1981 as the 15,000-square-foot Robert P. Foster Aquatic Center. In 2015, the building was transformed and expanded into a state-of-the-art fitness center, consisting of 19,490 square feet of open floor space to accommodate cardio and weight lifting machines, a human performance lab and classroom space.

The facility houses a group exercise room and a 2,300-square-foot mezzanine with cardio equipment and windows that provide natural lighting in the facility. It also includes new locker rooms and an enclosed walkway connecting Northwest’s existing Student Recreation Center for added convenience. Energy usage is greatly reduced in the new space with all new mechanical and electrical systems as well as LED lighting.

The Anita Aldrich Human Performance Lab inside the Foster Fitness Center is named for Dr. Anita Aldrich, 1936 Northwest graduate who dedicated herself to health, physical education and recreation education. During a career spanning 47 years, she served as a teacher and administrator of physical education programs in King City, St. Joseph and Kansas City, Mo., and at Indiana University. She was appointed in 1961 as an advisor to President John F. Kennedy’s Fitness Council and served as president during 1962-1963 of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation to which she was later named an honor fellow.

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