Over-crowded, stuffy and compact. Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., that’s the type of environment athletes exercise in at the Dow’s weight room.
“It’s simply too small,” said Matt Arend, director of athletics. “I believe that the weight room was built pre-1990, and since then we have added a number of varsity sports, and the room hasn’t changed.”
The lack of space for athletic training has been an on-going problem on campus, even with enrollment dropping in recent years. Many students are unable to workout at the times they want to due to the size of the current weight room.
Arend said that the general student body’s use of the cardio and weight room has increased significantly over time, and with multiple athletic teams holding voluntary workouts at these busy hours, some students have been forced to switch their schedules around.
“I quit trying to go between the hours of four and six because the weight room was always crowded,” said Chad Bousley, Dexter senior. “Various sports teams use the weight room, and although the football team has always been approachable and cooperative when I have been in the gym with them, I prefer to go after 9 or 10 [at night] because then the weight room is essentially empty.”
As of right now, there are no alternatives for students other than to workout at different times of the day, but Arend did say the future of the Dow could be drastically different.
“There are no plans for an athlete-only weight room, but there are plans for a new cardio and weight room that would extend off of the front entrance of the Dow into the grassy area as you walk down the path to the main entrance,” Arend said. “This space would be large enough that it could handle all traffic no matter what time of day.”
The approximately 5,000 square-foot addition to the Dow has not been given the green light for fundraising yet, but Arend said it’s part of the Athletic Department’s master plan as they continue to renovate and improve the athletic facilities on campus.
The weight room will remain as is for now, and like it or not, students will either have to put up with a crowded weight room during the busy hours or get their workouts in at alternative hours. For Bousley, regardless of the quality and size of the room, he’s still able to make use of what’s available.
“The weight room is decent, and it has all of the equipment I need in order to get a good workout in,” Bousley said. “Since I do mostly free weight exercises the weight room has everything I need, however for some people who prefer to use machines the gym might be inadequate.”
More space and more equipment are part of the plan for the addition at the northwest corner of the Dow, but time and money are working against the Athletic Department.
Photo by Kurt Miller