1st Century Fitness Lab

Roles and Responsibilities
Leo Hsu
Robert Reyes
Matt Villaescusa

Design Proposal

In the past five years, there has been a considerable shift in the discipline of Physical Education. In 2005, the California Department of Education adopted standards for Physical Education, affirming the significance of physical fitness and health. In 2007, the state of California allocated money to each school district in the form of a Physical Education Block Grant that provided each school with funding for equipment and standards-based training. With new legislation and Fitnessgram (a state-mandated fitness test) requirements impacting Physical Education in the state of California, as well as the ballooning obesity epidemic, the creation of a fitness lab that has the 21st century student in mind along with the latest 21st technology can improve fitness levels and combat obesity.

Rancho del Rey Middle School in Chula Vista, CA earned a Golden Bell Award, given by the California Department of Education, for it's excellence in Physical Education and Health. Although there already is a fitness lab, the current fitness lab lacks space and modern technology for the 21st century student. The current fitness lab is located in the 1000 building and houses the boys and girls locker rooms, storage closets, and two classrooms. The two classrooms are rectangular shaped rooms that has a folding partition separating the rooms. The size of the two classrooms combined is approximately 1800 square feet, Each classroom has a storage closet, garage door, wireless access, dry erase boards, and cabinets,

​The Human Performance and Well-Being department at Rancho del Rey Middle School teach a hybrid curriculum of Physical Education and Health. The course focuses on standards-based teaching, individual skill acquisition, developing social skills, creating a personal fitness plan, an emphasis on lifetime fitness, collaborative problem solving, and performing community service. The teachers also encourage cooperation, teamwork, and motivate their students to reach their Healthy Fitness Zones (HFZ).
Room 1002

Room 1002 Folding Partition

Needs Assessment

In order to better understand the needs of our stakeholders, some front end analysis was performed prior to beginning the design process. Our team completed a needs assessment which focused on identifying the needs of the various stakeholders. We encouraged the stakeholders to express their thoughts, dreams, and visions of the facility that will become the future sight of Rancho del Rey's 21st century fitness lab. Data was collected in the form of stakeholder interviews and ad-hoc personas.

Stakeholders------------------- Expressed Ideas
Site Administration
  • Space should support fitness testing
  • Staff training to learn how to safely use new equipment.
  • Incorporate technology
  • Fitness lab design would become model for other district schools.
Physical Education Teachers
  • Variety of learning/activity stations/zones
  • Themed stations/zones- cardio, strengthening, instructional space, student collaboration
  • Space should encourage social interaction.
  • Industrial quality equipment
  • “Tech” infused fitness equipment
  • Variety of equipment
  • Portable fitness equipment and furniture
  • Equipment meets the needs of middle school student
  • Space should support fitness testing
  • Space has ample room for student movement/traffic
  • “Open” space that provides natural light
  • Good circulation/ventilation
  • Technology in the form of quality AV equipment, document camera, digital video cameras, LCD televisions, ceiling mounted projectors
  • Portable teacher work station/cart
  • Portable lap top cart for student use
  • Heavy duty lap top computers
  • Class set of heart rate monitors
  • Wireless network
  • Secure storage for fitness and “tech” equipment
  • High density rubber flooring
  • Rock climbing wall
RdR Students
  • New fitness equipment
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Televisions
  • Dance
  • Virtual reality video game equipment
  • Music
  • Lap top computers
District PE Curriculum Specialist
  • Link pedagogy and CA content standards to space
  • Think “new PE” vs “old school”
  • “Tech” infused fitness equipment
  • Support fitness testing
  • Student and teacher safety
Distirct Risk Management
  • Student and teacher safety
  • Teachers are CPR certified
  • AED- Automated External defibrillator
  • Space will comply with ADA guidelines
  • Appropriate in ground electrical outlets
  • Support ALL students
  • Colorful environment
  • Student safety
  • Students can access before school, at lunch, and after school
Custodial Team
  • Easy to move equipment and furniture
  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • No food or sticky beverage consumption

Gap Analysis

Next, we completed a gap analysis that allowed our team to examine the characteristics of the current fitness lab compared to what stakeholders consider the ideal fitness lab and the implications for design team decisions.

Existing Fitness Lab -------------“Dream/Ideal” Fitness Lab --------------- Design Implications
Small space that cannot accommodate current class size of 40+ students.
Ample square footage to maximize safe student movement and participation.
New space is four times the size of current space and can easily support large classes.
No specific learning zones
Learning/activity zones that support specific fitness component.
Fitness lab designed to accommodate activity zones- #1 cardio, #2 strengthening, #3 large group instructional space/learning space, and #4 rock climbing wall.
Poor ventilation and air circulation
air conditioned space with fans
Air conditioning installed on rooftop and ceiling and/or wall mounted fans strategically placed in fitness lab.
Install two manual roll up garage doors that can improve student traffic flow, ventilation, and circulation.
Very limited storage space
Ample and secure storage rooms for equipment and technology.
Two large secure storage rooms at each end of fitness lab. Secure lap top cart for student computers.
Cabinets to store AV equipment.
Carpet flooring
Alternative flooring material that is durable and easy to clean.
Install high density rubber flooring that will incorporate school colors.
Poor lighting
Prefer natural light and/or full spectrum lighting.
Install two manual roll up garage doors that provide access to natural light open or closed. Full spectrum lighting on ceiling.
Limited number and poor access of electrical outlets.
Ample electrical outlets
Install in ground electrical outlets meeting building code requirements. These outlets can also store excess electrical cords.
No technology equipment
“Tech” related fitness equipment. Portable teacher work station that carries lap top and other instructional support tools.
Technology equipment that supports instructional needs and encourages student collaboration.
Heart rate monitors, Body Buggs, interactive gaming consoles w/ fitness and sports games, and “industrial strength” laptops.
No student work space
Student work space that supports collaboration.
Fitness lab will provide ample space for individual and/or student work.
No white board space
Ample white board space
White boards installed on both sides of the fitness lab.
No bulletin board space
1-2 bulletin boards
Bulletin boards installed on both sides of the fitness lab.

Design Concept

The design concept for the fitness lab is based on teaching the whole student (cognitive, psycohomotor, affective) rather than only the physical component found in traditional old school physical education programs and implementing 21st century fitness technology. The design concept also includes specific fitness equipment with ergonomics in mind, fitness technology, computing technology, lighting, sound, and vision. In addition, portability of equipment and the ease of changing the room space for a variety of activities was a common thread during the design process. The theme for middle school Physical Education is lifetime fitness. Therefore, not only do students participate in various physical activities daily, they also need to cognitively understand how to take care of their bodies. .

The design concept includes:
  • a teacher mobile work station
  • the ability to transform the room into small and large group instruction areas such as circuit training, yoga, core training
  • large wall size projection screens and projectors
  • inch thick rubber flooring for safety and stability
  • whiteboards along the east and west wall
  • a built in wireless audio system
  • a rock climbing wall along the south wall
  • skylights and translucent garage doors
  • three 60" LED televisions with dvd players ceiling mounted at each serction of the fitness lab
  • five wall mounted 26" LED televisions, five Wii game console and balance boards, five arcade grade Dance, Dance, Revolution dance platforms
  • a mobile laptop station with 45 rugged laptops
  • five wall mounted laptops behind the dry erase boards on the east and west wall for a total of 10 laptops
  • high speed wireless internet

21st Century Fitness Lab

Ergonomics and Layout

Ergonomics refers to proper posture and positioning while working in order to reduce forces acting on the body, prevent injury, and increase productivity. (ergonomics.org). Ergonomic design principles were used for all aspects of the 21st century fitness lab design concept which include fitness equipment, technology, lighting, sound, and vision. Thesite and layout of the new fitness lab was chosen for it's size and existing resources such as wireless access and ventilation. The layout of the fitness lab allows for flexibility to provide teachers the ability to teach a variety of activities.


Elliptical Machines, Recumbent Stationary Bicycles, Rowing Machines, Upright Interactive Stationary Bicycle
The elliptical machine, recumbent stationary bicycle, and rower shown below were designed with ergonomics in mind. In the elliptical machine, the pivoting pedal mimics your body's natural motion and keeps your lower body in alignment. Thus, keeping your ankles, knees, and hips from suffering unnecessary impact and strain. The recumbent stationary bicycle reduces neck and back strain because the seat is in a reclined position as compared to the traditional upright design. Wrist strain, which could lead to carpel tunnel syndrome, is no longer an issue because the rider does not put their entire upper body weight on their wrists and hands. In addition, the recumbent position also relieves pain in the buttocks region normally associated with the upright bicycle design therefore giving the rider the ability to stay on longer. The rower provides ergonomic handles to provide natural hand and arm motion. The flywheel has a smooth motion with minimal sound to give the rower the feeling that they are on the water. The monitor system provides a variety of workouts for any fitness level. Although not as ergonomically correct as the other fitness machines, the Expresso S3 Upright Bicycle has many interactive features to make the riding experience fun for the rider. The Expresso S3 has a 19 inch high resolution LCD monitor and several interactive games such as obstacle courses, touring the French Alps, or racing around a velodrome. Heavy duty springs, bearings, and shifting controls allow the handlebars to move for a more interactive and realistic riding feel. In addition, the S3 includes a heart rate monitor and ipod jack.

Ergonomic Elliptical Rower

Ironman Recumbent Bicycle

Recumbant Rowing Machine

Expresso S2 Upright Bike

Rock Climbing Wall

Rock climbing or traversing walls is a great alternative to traditional sports or activities in physical education class. It not only challenges students in physical strength but also with their problem solving skills. Climbing walls can be designed so that there are several levels from beginner to advanced so students of all physical abilities can enjoy success and gain the benefits of exercise and higher level thinking skills.
Rock Climbing Wall

Gravity Training System

The Gravity Training System is used by fitness gyms, physical therapists, the armed forces, and K-12 schools. It is an adjustable full body workout machine that can accommodate several different body sizes and weights, and strength levels giving the user to personalize their own workouts. A student who is five feet tall can work with a student who is six feet tall because the levels easily adjusted. The Gravity Training System has eight different training levels (based upon desired amount of body weight to be lifted) and over 50 exercises can be performed on it. In addition, the gravity machine can be easily folded, rolled, and stored making it ideal for the 21st century fitness lab.
Gravity Machine

BOSU Stability Balls, BOSU Trainers, BOSU Portable Storage Cart

Core muscles are those found between the top of the legs and the chest line and consist of the obliques, abdominals, lower back, and the glutes. Stability balls and BOSU trainers are low impact tools that train core muscles and help with improving posture, balance, and overall functional strength. In addition, a strong core can help prevent injuries and increase physical performance. The stability balls and BOSU trainers can be easily inflated or deflated with an electric pump. They can also remain inflated and stored on a cart which can be wheeled from the storage room when not in use.

Stability Ball
BOSU Trainer
BOSU Storage Cart

Mobile Teacher Workstation

The VF1 Multimedia desk can hold a variety of equipment for the instructor. Since the fitness lab is divided into three zones, it is important to be able to transport the teacher workstation to any part of the room since teaching will take place in a number of areas. Besides being mobile, other advantages of this particular desk is that it can store a desktop computer and other multimedia equipment. The instructor also has plenty of room to store handouts and student workout sheets.

Teacher Mobile Work Station


Fitness Room Flooring (Zones 1 & 2): RubberFlex

In order to provide a safe learning environment, flooring is an essential component. RubberFlex flooring comes in a variety of thicknesses and color. It is commercial grade material made from recycled rubber and has an anti skid surface. The RubberFlex flooring will be installed for Zones 1 and 2 where the cardiovascular and weight training equipment is located. Different colors can be used to differentiate areas in the lab. For example, the cardiovascular endurance area can have gray flooring while the Gravity Training Systems can have black flooring and the free weight area could have blue flooring etc. In addition, the flooring can be easily wired underneath a sub floor and recessed outlets are naturally formed with the layer of sub floor and thickness of the flooring.

Large Group Instruction Flooring (Zone 3): Carpet Bonded Foam (CBF)

In Zone 3, gymnastics flooring will be installed since large group exercises such as core training, yoga, fitness testing, dance, and gymnastics will take place there. The gymnastics flooring consists of layers of foam that come in many thicknesses and colors covered by a carpet material. It is important to purchase gymnastics flooring where the carpet is bonded to the foam through a heat laminating process which binds the foam layer and carpet layer into one layer. Other products that do not bond the two layers result in wrinkling, shifting, and increased wear and tear. In addition, the carpet layer should have a soft feeling similar to velour and not be able to stick to velcro. Having carpet bonded flooring installed reduces the need and cost of buying portable gymnastics mats that are attached by velcro and can be damaged during transport.
RubberFlex Flooring

Gymnastics Flooring


Impact Resistant Laptops
Approximately 10 Laptops will be mounted behind the whiteboards on both sides of the fitness lab. However, there will also be a mobile lab top cart where students can use laptops outside of the fitness lab in the learning space known as the amphitheater. The amphitheater is a structure that has six rows of concrete seating. In the event that students accidentally drop their laptop, the laptop will survive the impact and continue to work properly.

Drop, Spill, and Shock Resistant Laptop
Siemens Wireless Router

Industrial Wireless Router
The outdoor environment calls for the need of heavy duty industrial equipment. The industrial Siemens wireless router coupled with the rugged rhinobooks will serve our active students on the move. The wireless connection will help connect several wireless laptop computers, increase the functional wireless signal range, as well as increase the user connectivity speed to accommodate all wireless users near the fitness lab.


Document Camera
The ELMO document camera has a variety of purposes in the classroom. In our proposed fitness lab we wish to make a document camera available for the instructors to use as a 'quick' visual instructional aid. The ELMO enables the instructor to quickly and conveniently project any image 'on the fly' in color or black and white, replacing the traditional and often tedious task of creating overhead transparencies.

Heart Rate Monitor System
The Suunto Heart Zone System has the ability to record up to 48 student's heart rates simultaneously indoors or outdoors. The heart rates can be viewed by instructor via computer as well as projected on any flat surface to increase student motivation and accountability.

Heart Rate Monitoring System

Wii Fit and Dance, Dance, Revolution

Exergaming is becoming more and more prevalent in physical education programs around the country. Historically, video games contributed to a sedentary lifestyle by its users and the prevalent epidemic of obesity. In recent years, the trend has been to develop video games to combat the obesity epidemic. The Nintendo Wii video gaming systems have revolutionized the gaming industry by encouraging its users to participate in video gaming at the same time being physically active. Video games on the Nintendo and similar games like Dance, Dance, Revolution get the students up on their feet and encourages them to 'move' their bodies to the beat.

Wii Fit Plus
DDR Hottest Dance Party 3
Arcade Grade Metal Ion Dance Platform with Handlebar

Body Bugg
The Body Bugg is finding its place among adults and students alike that wish to monitor their daily intake versus calories burned throughout the day. The Body Bugg may be set to actively monitor calories burned in a single exercise bout or total calories burned at the end of the day. The Body Bugg is comfortably worn on the arm and allows the user to interace with a computer to actively monitor steps, calories burned (per minute!), and may be used to track individual student activity over any period of time.
24 Hour Fitness Body Bugg

Tanita Scale
This user friendly scale may be operated by young students. The Tanita scale has the capability to compare several key measurements to our students respective healthy range. This model of Tanita scale allows users to print out total body composition readings including: Weight, Fat %, Fat Mass, Total Body Water, Muscle Mass, Basal Metabolic Rate, Bone Mass, a unique Visceral Fat indicator, Body Mass Index, and much more.

Tanita Body Composition Analyzer

Automatic External Defibrillator
The Philips HeartStart OnSite AED is a portable, lightweight automated external defibrillator available over-the-counter and easy to use. Its voice prompt system has "on-demand" CPR coaching to help you remember all of the steps during your resuscitation effort.
Automatic External Defibrillator


The high ceilings and exposed fixtures of the fitness lab create an "industrial" appearance. Lighting in the fitness lab will include both natural artificial sources. Natural light will be provided by two large roll up garage doors (one on each side of lab) and one large centrally located skylight. Artificial light fixtures that diffuse intensity of light will be suspended from the ceiling to minimize glare and hot spots. This light will come from incandescent bulbs that can be adjusted depending upon zone of the fitness lab and activity. The lighting is zoned such that the fixtures closest to the projection screens and/or white boards could be turned off independently of the other fixtures.

Fitness Center Lighting

Skylight- Centrally located skylight appropriately sized for fitness center.

Translucent Glass Skylight

Industrial style roll up garage doors with translucent glass that provide ample natural light while also offering a sense of privacy to exercising students.

Privacy Glass Garage Door


Mitsubishi XD600U Projector
Two of these projectors will be installed on both sides of the fitness center. Projectors will be ceiling mounted to maximize viewing angles and will be protected from damage by using an easily accessible case. The projector features a 1.5:1 zoom lens and 3D capability that goes a long way towards making it future proof. Maintenance costs are low thanks to a filter-free design and long lamp life.
Mitsubishi XD600U Projector

Projector Security

Supreme Audio Sound System with Wireless Microphone
This unit will be stored in the AV cabinet but also can be portable as it is mounted on a cart with retractable handle. Provides instructors with high quality sound equipment that offers flexibility and portability.

Supreme Pro Audio System

Bose Virtually Invisible Speakers
Two of these speaker systems will be installed on both ends of the fitness center. Flush mounted speaker design allows for wall installation. High quality system that provides consistent, life like sound over a large listening area.

Bose Virtually Invisible Speakers

Samsung LED HDTVs
These TVs will be wall mounted to provide optimal student viewing angles and maximize use of available floor space. In addition, these TVs also have 3D capability. These TVs also exceed Energy Star 4.1 standards.

Samsung 55" LED HDTV

Universalmounts UAS-55 Articulating LCD Mount
Articulating Mounts for TVs

Design Rationale

Resource ------------------------What did we learn? --------------------------------Final Project Decisions
Design Concept
Schools for the Future: Inspirational Design for P.E. and Sport Spaces
It is important to create a sense of flow in a fitness center so that users can easily rotate to machines safely. Designers recommend 50 square feet per user for circulation and space in between each piece of equipment.
Divide the fitness center into three sections:
1) cardiovascular fitness 2) Gravity Training System/free weights 3) large group instruction area (yoga, core training, gymnastics, dance, dynamic stretch).
Lighting Resource
Illuminating the Classroom Environment

Learning, Lighting, and Color
-Controlled daylight and appropriate artificial illumination are critical to the quality of student performance.
-Students perform best in classrooms that feature uniform, diffused daylight.
-Combination of natural light via garage doors and skylight and artificial light in the form of diffused incandescent bulbs to reduce glare.
-Translucent glass on garage doors provide diffused natural light and security for students inside.
Flooring Resource
Air Force Services Facilities Design Guide. Design Guide: Fitness Centers
-A high force reduction/shock absorption value of 53% is required for fitness equipment area and a higher value is required for aerobic exercise areas.
-Easy to maintain and clean.
Very durable and able to withstand wear and tear. -Appropriate flooring thickness to withstand weight of equipment.
Color Resource
Schools for the Future: Inspirational Design for P.E. and Sport Spaces
-Color can be used to define different areas in a fitness center as well as take a drab place to a bright welcoming environment. -Color can be added as a layer by simply painting the walls or as a solid material such as fitness equipment.
-Using different color flooring to define areas in the fitness center. -Using different color fitness machines to differentiate cardiovascular exercises from resistance training.
Fitness Technology Resource
-Exergaming is combining video games such as Wii Fit or Dance, Dance, Revolution (DDR) with fitness to engage students in physical education class. Students are enjoying PE while being challenged and having fun.
-10 DDR dance platforms, 10 Wii fit game consoles, and 5 Expresso S3 interactive stationary bicycle added to the fitness center.
Audio Visual Resource

Learning Spaces

How to Create Great AV Learning Spaces
-Provide appropriate power and telecommunications connectivity.

-Coordinate AV elements from ceiling with those on walls.

-Conduit to accommodate wiring to support AV equipment.
-Electrical outlets built in the floor to support cardio equipment and minimize safety risk of exposed electrical cords.
-Portable AV cart will carry document camera and teacher lap top.
-Student sight lines for presentations considered for ceiling mounted projector and screen.
-LED TVs mounted on walls for safety, to maximize floor space, and improve sight lines.
-Conduit utilized to minimize exposed wires.
-AV equipment selected to support a variety of teacher and student needs.
-Lighting designed to minimize glare and hot spots in fitness lab.
Fitness Equipment Resource
Alexander Technique
Ergonomic Exercises
-Ergonomics refers to proper posture and positioning while working in order to reduce forces acting on the body, prevent injury, and increase productivity.
-Equipment chosen is ergonomically correct to maintain proper posture and alignment
Technology Resource

Digital Access

School Technology
- School technology must support the needs of all subjects and must be the appropriate technology for individual subject areas. In addition, the technology must be available for collaboration for its users both inside and outside of school.
-Heavy duty laptops were chosen to endure student use both indoors and outdoors. Laptops are able to withstand accidental mishandling and the occasional drop on the ground due to mobility. Additionally, a heavy duty wireless router was chosen to assure connectivity in an outdoor environment at considerable distances away from of the immediate fitness lab area.


Assessment will occur after completion of the fitness lab. There are several factors that our team would consider when evaluating the effectiveness of the fitness lab. These factors include:
  • Observation of the fitness lab being used by stakeholders.
  • Feedback from stakeholders via survey and/or interview.
  • Product evaluation- Has the fitness equipment endured the volume of student use?
  • Future fitness test results- Has the fitness scores improved due to use of the fitness lab?
  • Fitness lab safety- Does design of fitness lab contribute to or minimize accidents/injuries?
  • Does design of fitness lab space allow for smooth student flow/traffic?

Team Presentation- Fitness Lab Design


Designing PE/Fitness Spaces:

California Department of Education: Facility Design Best Practices

Fitness Space Assessment

Fitness Space Design

PE Facilities Design

Schools for the Future: Inspirational Design for PE and Sport Spaces

US Air Force Fitness Center Design

Fitness Equipment
Elliptical Machine

Stationary Recumbent Bicycle

Stationary Rowing Machine

Upright Stationary Bike with Monitor

Rock Climbing Wall

Gravity Fitness Machines

BOSU Trainer, balance balls

Fitness Room Flooring
Zones1 and 2: RubberFlex

Gymastics Flooring
Zone 3

Technology Tools
Mobile Teacher Work Station

Impact Resistant Laptops

Elmo Projectors

Siemens Industrial Router

Rhinobook Laptop

Dance, Dance, Revolution

Lighting/Audio Visual
Learning, Lighting, and Color

Illuminating the Classroom Environment

Learning Spaces

How to Create Great AV Learning Spaces

Bose Virtually Invisible Speaker System

Supreme Audio Sound System with Wireless Microphone

Mitsubishi XD600U Projector

Articulating wall mounts for TVs

Samsung 55" 3D LED HDTV