The days of crowding into the weight room and fighting to use machines may soon be over. Plans are currently in the works to provide students an alternative to the workout facilities currently in the Dow Recreation and Wellness facility and Kresge Gymnasium, at Washington Gardner High School.
It all began when Robert Mahaney (‘80) and wife Mary decided to make a donation. In an email Mary explained that she and her husband had several discussions with President Ditzler in which he described his desire to expand the workout facilities currently available to students. Because of their family history, Albion College is important to the Mahaneys, so they offered up a solution.
“We had this gym equipment and felt it was the perfect opportunity for us to help Albion College fill a need,” said Mary. She and her husband acquired the equipment from a closed facility.
The Mahaneys are donating around 40 pieces of gym equipment — more than double what is currently in the Dow’s weight room — including machines such as recumbent cycles, a back extension and an overhead press, which all have had only a couple of year’s use. Albion College Athletic Director Matt Arend estimates that the equipment weighs about 30,000 pounds in total, which will need to be moved to Albion from Marquette, Michigan.
When the college gets its hands on the equipment, they’ll need someplace to put it. According to Arend, the plan is to renovate the gym of Washington Gardner to create the new workout space because there is not enough room in the Dow. Washington Gardner is the school on Michigan Avenue that you would pass if you are walking towards Biggby Coffee. This new facility may be in use sooner than you think.
“My goal right now would be shooting for November 1,” said Arend “I’d like to get it up and running by Thanksgiving.”
A lot of work will need to be done before then. While the rest of the building is being used by the college and the community, the gym has not. Part of the renovation process will involve looking at the amenities already in place to see how they can be used and what needs to be added.
For example, the plan is to use the existing locker rooms,
but to clean them up so they will be ready for students. In addition to the locker rooms, work will need to be done on the flooring, electricity, fiber work and security systems. Albion College’s facilities crew will be doing a decent portion of the renovation work, including installing the roughly 5,000 square feet of rubber flooring. This work does not include the time that will need to be spent setting up the equipment once it arrives from Marquette.
If you are looking to workout using free weights, you will still need to go to the Dow. According to Arend, the new facility will not have any. He is hoping the cardio pieces that will be coming in will attract students to use this new gym. Arend is also looking at taking some of the machines from the second floor of the Ungrodt Tennis Center to add to the machines being donated by the Mahaneys. Between the cardio and weight machines, Arend is hoping this will give students another place to go for a full workout.
There is another important detail. This new gym will be a student-only facility. All students will have access to the gym, which will provide another workout location if they want to go somewhere else while the varsity athletes are using the Dow during practices. There will likely be a check-in station similar to the one currently in the Dow to facilitate student access.
“We may tweak that as we go along, but the idea here is that it’s a student-only workout facility. And so it’ll be a swipe-your-ID-to-get-in situation. So as long as you have a current and active student ID, you’ll access it with that,” Arend said.
Photo by Katie Buzan
9/26/16, 1:56 p.m. The Pleiad found out that the Mahaneys acquired their gym equipment from a closed facility. It has been added into the article.
9/25/16, 11:10 a.m. Correction: An earlier version of this article had ‘Washington Gardner’ hyphenated. As Washington Gardner was the name of a prominent figure in the Albion community, there was no need for a hyphen between his first and last name. We apologize for the grammatical error.