Don’t know where to get active and break a sweat on campus?

The University’s Activities and Recreation Center, known universally as the ARC, is the largest facility of its type on campus and also one of the largest in the country.

Located south of campus on Peabody, between First and Third Streets, the ARC received its name change and current look when the former facility in its place underwent a total renovation in 2005.

Since reopening, the ARC has become the most popular and convenient facility for students living on the west side of campus, said Gary Miller, associate director of Campus Recreation.

Miller called the ARC a “tremendous opportunity” for students who want to increase their fitness or just participate in its multiple recreational activities.

The ARC offers myriad different classes, including yoga, aerobics and kickboxing; a more detailed list is available on the ARC Web site or at the facility itself.

Miller said the ARC offers many programs that are not available at the other campus recreation centers.

It contains an Instructional Kitchen, through which the University runs programs geared towards students’ nutritional concerns, including healthy eating, budget eating and first-time apartment cooking. While some of these programs require a small fee, others are totally free.

Also notable is ARC’s 34-foot tall climbing wall, which students can use on a scheduled basis under trained supervisors. Miller said that the schedules are available at the ARC or on their Web site.

Students must pay a small fee for equipment.

Miller said the ARC was designed primarily as “the free weights destination,” with a 11,000 square foot weight room and 42 tons of free weight plates.

This weight room has endeared the ARC to some students over its east-campus counterpart, CRCE (pronounced “sir-see”).

Firas Rafati, senior in AHS, said this is one of the primary reasons he uses the ARC instead of CRCE.

“I love this facility, I think it’s great,” he said. “I just wish the weight room was bigger.”

Rafati said he uses the ARC to play basketball and to swim, as well as undergoing rehabilitation for a broken ankle using its equipment.

CRCE, 1102 W. Gregory, features many of the same basic options as the ARC, such as its weight room, track, and cardio machines, as well as personal trainers who are available through Member Services.

There is also a MAC (Multi-Activity Court) gym, for soccer, volleyball, roller hockey, and other indoor sports.

CRCE also features a recreational pool with a waterfall and a fountain, in contrast to the ARC’s larger indoor and outdoor pools.

Freer Hall, located a block west of CRCE, also features an indoor pool, managed by Campus Recreational Facilities.

“Freer Hall is nice because there are usually fewer people there and more space available for lap swimming,” said Bryce Lobdell, graduate student. “But it’s dark cave-like, and it’s dirty.”

Lobdell said that the outdoor the ARC pool is nicer and more attractive. He added that Freer Hall is only open for about two hours a day, whereas the ARC has more convenient hours.

There is also a work out facility at Kenney Gym, 1406 Springfield Ave., near the Engineering Quad, but this is managed by University High School. Some Engineering faculty members use this facility, as well as Intercollegiate Athletics.

More information regarding program schedules and hours of operation is available for all the above-mentioned facilities at http://www.campusrec.uiuc.edu/facilities/.