Preston Center: More than just a gym

ORAC (The Outdoor Recreation Adventure Center) in the Preston Center offers a wide array of affordable services and activities for students including adventure trips, equipment rental, and bike repair. Their guided trips include kayaking, backpacking, and mountain biking.

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Treadmills run, basketballs bounce, and sneakers squeak. These are familiar sights and sounds at the Preston Center. But the Intramural Recreational Sports staff wants students to know that there is more to wellness than playing volleyball and lifting weights. Preston houses many resources that can help improve overall health.

Health & Fitness Lab

Muscle tension and pain can be tough for some students, but Preston Center’s Health & Fitness Lab offers a solution: massage therapy on campus at a cost-effective rate. The Health & Fitness Lab has two licensed massage therapists under the charge of office coordinator Sabrina Pate. A 2005 WKU alumna, Pate works to provide accessible relief to students.

“I had a student here the other day who was talking about how she had a debilitating numbness in her hands and was having trouble completing course work,” she said. “From coming to the massages she’s now not experiencing that. She was able to have a better quality of life.”

Rates for massages start at $25 for a half-hour session. That’s about half the price massage therapists charge elsewhere, Pate said.

Patrons can get more information at or can book a massage by calling 270-745-6531.

Outdoor Recreation Adventure Center

The Outdoor Recreation Adventure Center (ORAC) housed in Preston Center offers affordable means to experience the outdoors through adventure trips, equipment rental and bike repair. Guided trips offer introductory experiences to many different activities such as mountain biking, backpacking and kayaking.

Beyond being beneficial to physical fitness, these adventure activities can also be beneficial to mental health, Pate said.

“These trips can help students escape the stresses of class and reconnect with nature,” she said.

All of ORAC’s trips are student-led. Graduate assistant Haley Gouine leads many of the trips and also works as a bike mechanic for ORAC. She said that ORAC helps put outdoor activities within reach.

“The main goal for ORAC is to make this as affordable to students and the community as possible,” Gouine said.

Trips scheduled for the fall semester include mountain biking at Mammoth Cave National Park, backpacking the Appalachian Trail and bouldering in Alabama, among other excursions.

More information is available at

Aquatics Program

Splashing water often brings childhood memories. While many remember the pool as a place to play, it is also a great space for improving overall well-being through working out or rehabilitation.

“Swimming is one of the best workouts you can do for a full-body workout,” Assistant Director of Facilities Candice Douglas said.

The Bill Powell Natatorium offers many ways to get fit in the pool including aquafit classes, academic courses, and lanes for lap swimming.

The pool can also be used for rehabilitation. Douglas has a personal experience with the benefits of water workouts and their ability to assist with rehab.

“I had a knee and ankle injury,” she said. “I rehabbed in the pool first, before I could do workouts on land again.”

For those that are not comfortable in the pool, the aquatics program also offers group and private lessons for all ages through their Learn to Swim program.

The space can also be reserved for parties and events. More information about aquatic programs is available at