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University News

Bears Lair bare without machines

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, September 26, 2011

Sam Williams ’12 wakes earlier this semester, knowing she will have to wait for machines at the Bears Lair satellite fitness center. Julie Rodriguez ’14 has postponed her workouts on certain days because she cannot afford to waste time in line for one of the two remaining treadmills.

The Graduate Center gym has become a ghost town of empty space and broken-down machines since the semester’s start, when the Department of Athletics removed machines they deemed old or unsafe. It is unclear when these machines will be replaced.

The Department of Athletics has taken out 10 machines from the Bears Lair since the start of the semester, said Matthew Tsimikas, assistant director of athletics and physical education. But these machines were removed before the department secured funding for new replacements, leaving limited options for students at the satellite gym.

According to Tsimikas, the machines were taken out of the Bears Lair before they could be replaced because they were unsafe and beyond repair. Though many still functioned, the majority  were more than 10 years old, Tsimikas wrote in an email to The Herald. The Bears Lair is more than 12 years old.

The department is currently working on receiving both authorization and funding to add new equipment to the fitness center, but the department will not know if funding is available for another two weeks, Tsimikas said. He declined to comment on where the funding may come from or the details of the potential upgrades.

Students pay a $64 recreation fee as part of their tuition every year, which supports the upkeep of gyms and the athletics department.

Until the machines are replaced, students will continue to change their workout schedules or go to gyms that are less convenient. During the busiest hours, students can expect to wait over half an hour for a machine, resulting in rumblings of dissatisfaction and complaints.

“I was a little disappointed because it seemed like the equipment was already shoddy,” said Mariam Amin ‘11.5. “It makes me want to spend less time here.”

Amin said she does not understand why the department would take more machines away when students were already complaining about a lack of machines. “If there’s already a shortage, why take more away?” she said.

The lack of machines makes the current state of the gym worse than in past years, said Leela Senthil Nathan ’14. Though machines broke periodically, they were usually repaired.

The Emery and Bigelow fitness centers also have machines that may soon need replacement, Tsimikas wrote. He declined to comment on whether there are plans to upgrade those satellite gyms.

— With additional reporting by Nora McDonnell

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