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New weight room renovations will exceed expectations

Students here at UMass Dartmouth have been begging for a renovation on the weight room for years, and now they finally got their wish.

The new project for the weight room has been scheduled for over a year now, but the actual construction stage is set to fully begin Monday, March 4th, and end on August 22nd. The facility may only be partially completed- it will be operational, but there may be some issues which the general contractor needs to address before the university deems the project complete.

One of the biggest things students have complained about is the need for better ventilation. Anyone who has used the fitness center knows how humid it gets in there when the gym is at maximum capacity. They will be replacing the three inadequate HVAC units with 5 much more sophisticated ones that are sure to maintain a comfortable workout environment. There will also be more availability for more open space.

Many students like to use the aerobics studio during their workouts and there is frustration for some when classes are in there and space is limited for jumping rope, doing abs, stretching, etc. About half of the existing aerobics studio will be made available as open space at all times. The new addition will have an aerobics studio on the second floor.

In an interview with Gregory Homol, the Fitness Center Director, he spoke of all the new details of the new project and how much students and faculty will benefit from it.

"I feel that this addition is necessary because we have outgrown the current facility. Although this building is not very old, the campus has grown dramatically since the doors opened in January of 2000. Our goal is to keep students on campus and provide them with the outside the classroom activities they are looking for."

Another problem that the weight room has faced is the complication of having one gym for both students and athletes. Most schools with an athletic program as good as UMass Dartmouth's have two separate gyms, one for the students and another for the athletes.

"In our current situation our athletes do not have a training facility of their own. In student surveys there are often complaints that athletes take up all the equipment in the fitness center. Although we currently do not allow teams to come to the fitness center all together at one time, that perception is still in the minds of many students," Homol responded.

This is a problem that the new project should take care of. As Gregory explained, "We decided to create a Sports Performance room which will take half of the current aerobics studio. Although this room will generally not be a restricted or athlete only space, it will allow our strength and conditioning coaches to run training sessions with our athletic teams. We expect this to help improve performance in their athletic venues."

UMass Dartmouth has been focusing on improving the lifestyle here on campus and this can be clearly seen with the new library and commuter café. The new weight room should prove no different and will exceed expectations of all students and faculty.

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