Opinion: Sports Complex renovations were poorly executed
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For long-time patrons and students of the Loyola Sports Complex, it had been a long pondered pipe-dream: A remodel of Loyola’s weight room located on the 5th floor of the Sports Complex.
Always very homey, if not roomy, our weight room had an old school charm like something out of a Rocky movie. No glam — just sweat and self-determination. But could it be better? Most definitely.
Better, it turns out, meant remodeling the weight room with an emphasis on the student athletes. No doubt a noble cause, but not a practical one.
Instead of knocking down walls and making the weight room bigger and better for all students, the much-used free weights were siphoned off from the larger area to the smaller one that has less equipment, in far less space and no rubber matting to protect the floors from dumbbell drops.
Additionally, weight machines that once occupied this same area and supplemented many between-set, free weight workouts are now an inconvenience on the 6th floor of the complex and hidden where the free movement/calisthenics area used to be (May the open carpet calisthenics room rest in peace).
My dear friend the heavy bag has also disappeared, one might suspect into the same hole as Billy Batts from Goodfellas.
It would have been a much better idea to find a location on the 6th floor or maybe convert one of the seldom occupied 5th floor racquetball rooms and create an exclusive and private training area for our athletes instead of a poorly remodeled timeshare weight room.
Now the majority of space in the bigger section of the weight room is occupied by a CrossFit-like amalgamation of squat racks, resistance bands and turf flooring for training that seems to have been designed to the parameters of a Total Body Sculpt with Gilad scene.
What should have been a vast improvement for everyone who uses the Sports Complex instead became something that certainly benefits athletes and inconveniences everyone else.
Our weight room is no longer filled with the feverish hustle and bustle of people scurrying around trying to get fit, nor the grunting associated with dumbbell lifts that would set off the alarm in Planet Fitness.
Many students, alumni and patrons have reacted to these changes by either joining other gyms or avoiding our weight room entirely. In a purely selfish capacity, I enjoy the fact that at most times the weight room sits empty, or the athletic training room has no team scheduled for a session.
However, I have heard too much from too many not at least to offer this perspective. All students are charged tuition and thus already pay to use the weight room, but the renovations make this problematic. We would all benefit —athletes, students,and other patrons — by examining the new layout and making it less problematic than it has become.