Fitness center to close after winter term for renovations

Gym equipment will move to the Student Activities Pavilion during spring term


Doremus Gymnasium. Photo by Maggie Barker.

Maggie Barker

The fitness center at Doremus Gymnasium will close after final exams in April for renovations.

A temporary fitness center will be set up in the Student Activities Pavilion.

“We are planning to move the majority of the equipment that’s in the current fitness center to the student activities pavilion and utilize that for PE classes, varsity athletics, and community fitness for spring term,” said Bryan Snyder, head volleyball coach.

Snyder, who is serving as a liaison for the athletic department and the construction plan, said he hopes the temporary fitness center’s hours will remain the same.

“We don’t have all the answers yet because we haven’t lived in that space yet,” he said. “Hours might be changed a little bit, but we’re hoping not to.”

Snyder said he doesn’t know if all the equipment that’s in the current fitness center will fit in the pavilion.

“We’ve worked with an interior designer, and we’ve measured everything out. However, until we actually get it up there and see what traffic flow looks like and what usage looks like, we can’t say for sure. But our plan right now is to make that available to everyone,” he said. “Whether that’s the same hours and the same amount of equipment or not remains to be seen.”

Space at the pavilion will be prioritized for physical education classes, followed by varsity athletics, club and recreational sports and community use.

“If we get to the point where we’ve got a PE class in there and there’s not enough equipment for the PE class to happen, then we’re going to have to close it during that time block,” Snyder said.

Kelsey Anderson, ‘20, said she’s concerned about the potential hour changes.

“Students use the gym around the clock throughout the year, and spring term is no exception. There are numerous class blocks so not every student is on the same schedule,” Anderson said. “Even being open all day, the gym is busy and it can be hard to find treadmills or ellipticals. Shortening the hours of operation will only worsen the overcrowding in the gym.”

Photo by Maggie Barker.

The fitness center is expected to reopen in the fall 2020 term with the following changes: about 3,000 square feet, multipurpose flooring, a reinforced wall for ball-throwing, fresh paint, an updated entry way and additional equipment, including cardio equipment, Snyder said.

The fitness center renovation is part of larger construction at Doremus Gymnasium.

“It’s going to be basically a decade that I’ve been working on this project in form or another, having meetings and dreaming about things. We’ve gone through many different iterations of what we thought we could and couldn’t get in there,” Snyder said. “Now we’re about six months away from it actually happening, so I’m very excited.”

Snyder said the new fitness center will use space more efficiently, which will free up space for other activities.

There will be three multipurpose rooms, as opposed to just one in the old gym. One room will have TRX and spin equipment and the second room will remain open, Snyder said. A third court will replace the Warner Center pool site for pick-up basketball, volleyball, handball and soccer.

Many varsity sports teams have had to practice and compete in other facilities on campus because of the renovations. Volleyball player Courtney Berry, ‘21, said she’s looking forward to competing in the newly renovated gym.

“I think that my class has a really cool experience because we got to play in the old gym,” she said. “We’ve experienced the tennis center in the time of transition, and then our senior year we get to play in the brand new gym and so we’re really, really excited.”

She described the former gym as old.

“It didn’t have air conditioning, so when we were practicing in August, it was awful,” Berry said. “The ceilings were too low, so we couldn’t really host any regulation NCAA stuff for volleyball.”

The team used Duchossois Tennis Center as an alternative location for games, but Berry said the location is out of the way and doesn’t have enough seats for fans.

“We are totally hoping to host ODACs for our first year in the new gym and for our senior year,” Berry said. “We’re really, really excited and cannot wait to finally get into the new gym and see how beautiful it is and how awesome they’ve made it for us.”