Overcowded weight room highlights gym safety concerns

By Kathleen Quillian | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Calling the Flagler College weight room overcrowded is an understatement.

Athletes, non-athletes and faculty share the weight room facility. The gym has been updated in the past five years, yet the issue comes down to size. It is not ideal for so many people to be training, and safety is starting to become a concern.

Senior baseball player, Kevin Trembley, has not seen much change in the four years that he has been an athlete. The senior says he appreciates the new addition of dumbbells and squatting racks, but there is no way to add more equipment with lack of space.

“A better gym experience would require a separate gym for student athletes that is much bigger than the current gym now,” Trembley said.

Junior Tyler White frequents the weight room daily. He agrees with Trembley and thinks the solution to a better work out facility would be to separate athletes and non-athletes. White thinks that the gym is overcrowded and it is starting to become an unsafe environment.

“The bars are all too rusted and the weights are too old,” White said. ” To create a safer environment there needs to be complete separation of students and athletes.”

White further expressed how the conditions of the gym mats are unsanitary to use and he would prefer portable mats that would be cleaned individually. When asking White why he doesn’t go to another gym, he responded, “because its free.”

Director of Athletics, Jud Damon, recognizes the weight room as a major problem, yet knows no alternative plan to fix weight room immediately. Damon explained that he knows the dangers of an overcrowded weight room, but there is simply nowhere to open another facility on campus. Until they have the budget for a new gymnasium and weight room, a plan will not be started.

“We have looked into renting space downtown where a fitness center could be built, but no location has been identified,” Damon said.

Flagler athletic trainer J.J. Wetheringotn strongly believes there should be an alternative plan for this weight room problem, which is rapidly becoming an unsafe environment.

“We need a unconventional plan to start building smaller workout facilities on campus,” Wetherington said. ” There needs to be workout facilities in either Ponce, Lewis or FEC (dorm rooms), or there should be a gym membership added into the tuition.”

The athletic trainer sees the dire need for a change because the conditions of the current weight room can only go through so much. Wetherington thinks if there was gym membership added into tuition, it would help local businesses as well as offer students a more comfortable workout facility.

Sophomore Kaitlin Zobel explains that the poor conditions of the gym led her to buy a gym membership her freshmen year. She didn’t care if the gym was free and convenient. She felt so uncomfortable that she felt obligated to work out somewhere else.

“I don’t see the Flagler gym as female friendly. There were never enough cardio machines and I also felt intimidated by the athletic teams,” Zobel said.

With the suggestion of a plan of a gym membership included into tuition, Zobel and White both agreed it would be the best short-term solution. Zobel explained that without students being vocal, there will not be immediate change.

The Student Government Association (SGA) spoke with the Flagler College Board of Trustees about what infrastructures are on their priority list, and the gym was one of the infrastructures brought up. Rachel Clark, first chair of campus concerns, confirmed there was talk about renovating the gym and the athletic facility in the future, yet no exact plans or budget have been set.

“The biggest concern would probably be the budget, so my best recommendation at this point would be for the sports teams to do some fundraisers to help off set the cost of these new facilities and equipment,” Clark said.

Clark explained fundraising would let the Board of Trustees know that the student body is passionate about athletics and personal health.

There have been several alternative ideas on how to fix the overcrowded weight room, but it is a matter of students and faculty voicing their concerns on the issue. Due to the safety concerns, the weight room has climbed higher on Flagler’s list of priorities.

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