Laurier gym not crowded by comparison

We’ve all been there. Frustrated and annoyed while trying to work out in the athletic complex. Whether it’s the wait times for the cardio machines, or the amount of room in the floor area I often find myself feeling that it is just not big enough for the amount of people who use it.

Fourth year Wilfrid Laurier University student Michael DeCastro often finds himself frustrated especially when using the weight lifting area. “There isn’t enough weights, no one puts them back, everyone goes at the same times so you have to watch when you go so you don’t have to wait,” he said.

As for Laurier meeting the needs of students who use the gym regularly DeCastro believes it’s time to expand. “We’re only getting bigger, as tuition keeps increasing and we’re expanding [the number of] students we should expand the facilities to fit adequately with our school, in first year our gym was adequate, now we have way more students and it’s the same,” he added.

Since its $4.3 million renovation in 2005, the population at Laurier has increased considerably. With the rapid change it’s no wonder that some students consider facilities like the athletic complex to not be meeting our needs.

This is something first year student Alyssa Lepp felt the first time she used the gym. “I thought it was a little bit smaller than it would be; just because there is so many students, you’d think there would be more machines,” she said.

Allison Blyth is a second year student who uses the gym about twice a week said, “On certain days when it’s really busy, it’s pretty frustrating when you have to wait for the cardio machines, or you can’t find a spot on the floor.”

The current number of full time undergraduate students at Laurier is approximately 12,000 for an athletic complex that is 11,000 square feet. Despite complaints, the traffic at Laurier’s gym is not the worst on the university spectrum by comparing space and student population.

Brock University has over 17,000 full time students, and a gym of 5,100 square feet. To use Brock the gym, students pay $80 for a fourth months use, or $199 for 12 months on top of tuition fees.

The University of Western Ontario’s athletic complex is over 19,000 square feet and includes more than double the cardio machines of Laurier. The cardio area features new machines such as cross trainers, life cycles and body cycles which have built in applications like iPod docks and USB connections. However, the current undergraduate population at Western is approximately 35,000 ⎯ almost tripling Laurier’s undergraduate population with a gym that is 8,000 square feet larger.

Lepp agreed it’s only reasonable Western has a better gym, commenting, “They have way more students than we do so it only makes sense their gym would be better.” When asking if she would be willing to pay extra for a better gym she responded, “I wouldn’t pay more to get a better gym because I’m only there once a week and if it’s busy I’ll just go another time.”

“If they’re going to actually expand it I think people will be willing to pay, but if it’s just for a small expansion then no,” she added.

Down the street, the University of Waterloo has two gyms available on campus. One that is 18,800 square feet and one that is 6,000 square feet to fit the needs of roughly 24,000 undergraduate students.

Compared to the three schools mentioned, the Laurier gym is fairly average. Although some other schools have better places to pump iron, the Laurier gym is a moderate size compared to our population. Dedicate some extra time to being at the gym so you won’t be so frustrated when you have to wait for equipment.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated since its original publishing date.

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