Up and running: The fitness center reopens amid pandemic

Safety protocols and limited capacity allowed for the reopening


Emma Coleman

The renovated Doremus Gymnasium reopened on Aug. 31.

Emery Wright

The university fitness center, located in Doremus Gymnasium, reopened after months of reconstruction with new COVID-19 guidelines and limited occupancy on August 31.

Campus staff, faculty and students must reserve time slots online in advance and present identification with proof of daily attestation upon check-in. Masks must be worn at all times, including during cardio sessions on treadmills and ellipticals.

“We’re excited to have eight new treadmills, two new non-motorized treadmills, two new Keiser spin bikes and a new Physio-max upper body bike,” said Patti Colliton, assistant manager of the fitness center.

Fifteen cardio time-slots and 20 weight time-slots are available at maximum capacity. Every other cardio machine is designated as out of service to allow for social distancing.

“It’s pretty difficult to workout inside while wearing a mask, and very few people were there when I was,” Peyton Jeter, ‘22 said. “There’s plenty of room to choose which machines and weights you want to use though.”

Medicine balls, resistance bands and total body resistance exercise, or TRX straps may be checked out at the front desk. However, mats, stability balls, weight belts and foam rollers are unavailable at this time.

“The need to disinfect between users is the biggest hindrance to having them openly available. We have limited storage and our front desk is not set up as a check out station for a large number of items,” Colliton said.

Recent construction expanded the fitness center by 32% to create more functional space for exercise. The strength and conditioning area can now accommodate varsity team lifts and still leave space for other students.

But for strength and conditioning, varsity athletic teams have chosen to move outside until the university COVID-19 guidelines are lifted.

Hayli Yetter, head strength and conditioning coach and fitness director, said outdoor workouts are the best option for now. 

“Outdoor workouts will be fun and allow student-athletes to train at a much higher frequency than they would if strength and conditioning occurred in the fitness center,” she said.