Students frustrated with Concordia’s services for physical exercise may have access to more modern facilities as early as January 2006.
Katie Sheahan, director of the recreation and athletics department, said the change is long overdue.
“Our lease for the Victoria Gym had to be extended until January 2006 because of the difficulty in finding a place for the new gym,” she said.
The gym’s present location, at 1822 De Maisonneuve West, does not belong to Concordia. Instead, the university rents the gymnasium from the Commission Scolaire de Montreal so students and staff may do physical exercise.
However, the present facilities have suffered from many shortcomings. These include inadequate locker rooms, space limitations for equipment and a lack of lockers.
“The problems are quite self-evident.” Sheahan said.
The Victoria Gym also relies heavily on student funding, seeing as it is maintained by student fees and not by the university itself.
Vladimir Pavlicik, assistant-director with the department of recreation and athletics, said that compared to other universities, such as Sherbrooke and Laval, the gym is only used by a small percentage of the student population.
“Most students spend a considerable amount of money on sailing, rowing and other fitness clubs rather than come here.” he said.
However, not all is ill at the gym. Instructors receive wonderful reviews from students who take advantage of their facilities, and the dropout rate in physical activity remains very low.
The athletics department has also managed to set aside 30,000 square feet of space for the gym in Concordia’s new engineering building, a considerable increase from their present location. With this added room, the department hopes the new facilities will be more suited to hosting fitness equipment and provide adequate training space for students. The department plans to start moving the equipment in time for January.
Plavlicik added that the gym’s present location is rather distant from the Sir George Williams (SGW) campus and many students have a hard time finding it. He is optimistic that by moving the gym to the new engineering building, it would make it easier for students to use the facilities without the worry of having to run from campus to campus.
According to Sheahan, the athletics department is committed to getting a deal that would work out best for the students. She concluded that the new facilities will make it easier on the athletics department, because they will be provided with a permanent area and won’t have to go through the troubles of leasing space.