Decision day looms for Sports Centre refurbishment

With the new gym already under fire, planned refurbishments could be rejected

The University Sports Centre will learn on May 21 whether the latest phase of its refurbishment programme; a wholesale facelift of the reception and changing room areas, will be given the green light. Work is expected to commence over the summer vacation on the project, in accordance with an undisclosed budget.

Gym management stressed the urgency for renovation work to occur, pointing out that the decaying entrance to the sports centre is now having to cope with 10 times the number users it was designed for.

Despite this, initial reactions to the gym renovation over the Easter holidays have been positive, with reports claiming a small increase in membership in the first three weeks of term. The changes include the addition of a second floor reached by a staircase near the entrance and a redistribution of cardio-vascular equipment across the two levels. The majority of the treadmills and rowing machines have been relocated upstairs, while the traditional weight sets and machines have remained on the lower floor.

When questioned, many gym members praised the additional space which has now been created on the ground floor by the reshuffle of machines. This makes for a more pleasant environment. Also, the separation of the exercise mats and medicine balls, positioned too close to the widely-used treadmills before, into a side-room alongside the cycle machines has been well received.

However, some complained about the lack of natural light on the upper floor and the absence of an additional water fountain. Also, difficulties remain, despite the layout alterations, some difficulties remain: the weights bar cannot be used for deadlifts, for instance, placing more strain on the adjacent weights room. The weight machines on the lower level have been further compressed and at least one has been out of operation this week.

In addition, some have questioned whether the overall work-out experience has been improved and whether the renovation will justify potential increases in the price of gym membership packages next year, given the financial constraints imposed by the latest round of facility developments and the cost of the new buildings within the Heslington East expansion project.

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