Cramped weight room causes complaints
October 6, 2008 6:37 PM
If athletically-inclined students properly navigate the eastern corridors of the gymnasium, they will find a stuffy, cramped room filled with decade-old exercise equipment.
Once inside, patrons will lift weights on limited floor space, wait in lines for cardio machines and stretch out while hoping someone doesn’t step on them.
This is SF State’s campus weight room, and some affiliated with the space are concerned the gym is not able to meet the needs of SF State students looking to stay fit.
“It’s a totally inadequate facility,” said David Ian Anderson, department chair of kinesiology. “It really doesn’t meet anyone’s needs.”
Because the weight room is shared between the athletic department, recreational sports and the kinesiology department, open gym hours are scheduled around the agenda of academic programs and classes; leaving little time for students to work out, said Ajani Byrd, director of recreational sports.
Additionally, due to the small size of the room, students have to compete for space and equipment, making many feel uncomfortable, Byrd said. This combination of patchy scheduling and limited space are causing frustration among gym guests and staff.
“A school of SF State’s size really should have an impressive gym that is able to accommodate students and their athletic needs,” Anderson said. “And our current weight room doesn’t come close.”
Students looking to work out at the school facilities like Mehran Kafai, a second-year graduate student of computer sciences, are having a difficult time because of the shifty hours of operation.
“This gym is hardly ever open,” Kafai said. “And when it is open, the gym is really crowded.”
“In a perfect world, the gym would be open everyday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.” Byrd said. “Although because academics take priority, we really don’t have that much time for open gym hours.”
While there are no immediate plans to relocate the weight room, hours of operation should change soon due to the increase of instructionally-related activity fees , Byrd said.
“This past year, IRA fees increased from $2 to $7, and with that money we hope to expand the hours of operation,” Byrd said. Currently, the weight room is not open on the weekends, because of a lack of funds to pay for more staffing, although “by spring of 2009, we should be open on the weekends.”
Even with increased hours of operation, Anderson said he thinks the weight room problem won’t be solved until the facilities are moved to a different, larger location.
“The prime reason the facilities are not meeting student standards is because the room is not big enough and can only fit a certain amount of people,” Anderson said.
SF State officials are currently looking into the possibility of building a student wellness center, complete with a larger and up-to-date weight room, said J.E. “Penny” Saffold, vice president for student affairs.
University officials have been promising to tear down the gym and build a new one for the past 45 years, Anderson said. “When I hear that a new gym is going to be constructed, I don’t hold my breath.”
Even as more students have enrolled at SF State over the past decades, the university has virtually done nothing until now to accommodate students looking to exercise on campus, Saffold said.
“No one anticipated SF State to become such a large school,” Saffold said. “We have to expand our vision to accommodate the needs of our students.”
Since the proposed student recreational facility would be non-academic, the state would not be able to contribute funds to such a project—it would need to be funded entirely by students, Byrd said.
“This campus is unique because it is student driven,” he said. “If students truly want a new gym, it will happen.”
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