University News

New fitness center overcomes challenges

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

 When the Jonathan Nelson ’77 Fitness Center opened its doors in April, some faculty and staff members expressed frustration at a gym fee of $20 that accompanied the new facility. Though several faculty and staff members told The Herald they might not use the gym due to the fee, the number of memberships has not declined this semester, said Allyson Caudell, fitness and recreation coordinator.

“The fitness center has been super popular for all interested fitness-goers,” said Matthew Tsimikas, assistant athletic director of the athletics department. Brown and Rhode Island School of Design students with a valid ID have free access to the gym and pool facilities, and the gym offers discounted rates for alums and staff. 

Sports teams have found the space particularly useful, many athletes said. 

“The swimming pool is really big, and the heating systems work wonderfully,” said Edward Zhao ’16, a member of the men’s swimming team. 

All nine divisions of the Department of Facilities Management have been working on maintaining the pool and the gym, Tsimikas said, adding that the facility is mostly still under warranty. “It takes a village to keep the operation smooth for the end user,” he said.

The gym has faced other challenges since its inauguration. It has been difficult adjusting to a wide range of fitness equipment, Caudell said, and the athletics department anticipates some potential issues when it faces winter weather.  

“Our new facility has yet to be tested through all four of New England’s seasons,” Tsimikas said. “We are embarking on the most difficult winter months that face new weather challenges for the structure itself and the internal aspects of mechanical and custodial requirements.” But, he added, “Everyone is committed to assure the best experience possible for all.”