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The new fitness and aquatics center has met praise from students and mixed reactions - due to the supplementary usage fee - from faculty and staff since its opening last week.

The facility rang in its opening with scheduled activities from April 16-20, which drew "steady" attendance, according to Assistant Director of Athletics and Physical Education Matthew Tsimikas.

Athletes and non-athletes alike have been positive about the new opportunities the facility affords.

"The lobby looks like you're at a hotel or something, everything's really nice when you walk in," Gabrielle Grandchamp '13 said. "Hopefully it will help more people go support sporting events."

"The pool's beautiful, it's really really nice, the air quality is awesome compared to the bubble," said Sarah Presant '14, a women's water polo athlete. "It was hard at times (in the old facility)," she said. "At the end it was kind of falling apart."

Jeff Izon '13, who helped organize the opening events, noted that the center will draw the entire student body.

"From what I've heard, I think people (non-athletes) really appreciate it," he said. "I think the feeling was beforehand that it would really just be another varsity facility. The fact that it's open to everyone is really great."

Of the events held, Izon highlighted Tuesday's screening of "Finding Nemo" in the facility, which about a hundred students attended.

"People kept showing up and leaving, so it was a great circle, fresh people in the pool," he said. "We were just blowing up air tubes for forever."

Grandchamp attended the movie night and said the event was a draw to the fitness and aquatics center. "There was cotton candy, popcorn­ - it was fun," she said. "Everyone was pretty excited about having a pool party."

Izon also noted the long-term potential of the facility.

"It probably cost a lot, but I think that a lot of people will definitely use it," he said. Izon said the facility would "definitely pay for itself in the future" by drawing teams to Brown and putting the University "on the map" for its athletics.

Faculty and staff, on the other hand, had mixed reactions. Despite the state-of-the-art qualities of the facility, the $20 monthly usage fee that will be charged to faculty and staff starting May 1 has tempered enthusiasm.

Leslie Crossley, an administrative assistant for the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, said she doubted she would pay the fee just to use the facilities.

But Tori Smith, a senior lecturer in Hispanic Studies, said the pool's low level of chemicals would tempt her to pay the fee. She called the pool "awe-inspiring" and "gorgeous."

"It has been a long time, but it looks like it was worth the wait," said Donna Fanion, senior administrative secretary for the Department of Athletics and Physical Education.

The facility's staff have high hopes for the future.

"The expectation is that we use this building and put it to the test and use the $50 million dollars worth of facilities that we built," Tsimikas said. "We don't want it to be idle - we want it to be used for the entire Brown University community."



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