The new 63,000-square-foot recreation center at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA, is nearing completion, and officials say it will be operational by August or September.

Once finished, the $16 million rec center will include a second-floor walking track, basketball courts, a 5,000-square-foot weight room and a 35-piece cardio room with treadmills and exercise bikes equipped with TV screens and docks for music players. The center also will house two group exercise rooms, one of which can be partitioned into two smaller rooms.

Kathryn Harrell, the university's fitness and wellness coordinator, told The Houma Courier that the center will offer free classes, including Les Mills classes, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, Zumba and Fit Freshmen, a program targeted specifically for freshmen.

The university will start helping student instructors earn certifications to teach the courses. Administrators expect the center will create as many as 70 student jobs, including instructors, desk staff and equipment managers. The center will offer personal training for a fee.

Michael Matherne, director of campus recreation, told the newspaper that the recreation center's membership will be limited to Nicholls students, staff and faculty.

β€œCompetition with area businesses is absolutely not a goal of this university,” Matherne told the Courier. β€œThe Nicholls rec center will have strict membership policies, and we will stick to them.”