Beginning with the most obvious and frustrating, is the lack of locker rooms. For seven months, anyone that has used the HPER has been unable to safely store their possessions. Unless your a guy willing to brave one of the athlete locker rooms, your forced to leave your belongings unsecured in the hallway and other areas that are used for stretching and body weight exercise. Further, unless you brave the athlete locker rooms, your forced to change in the one of the restrooms, which is not set up for such activity, is not a pleasant experience, and one that I personally find annoying, both when I have to do it and when someone else is. The other side of it, is that guys at least have the option of using the athlete locker rooms. To my knowledge, and what I’ve witnessed, females on campus don’t have that option. They are forced to either change in the restrooms, or in the equipment storage off the gym, as happened after a basketball game, in which the visiting team changed in the store room, while several people walked by the partially open door. This does not enhance the reputation of the school, especially given the length of time it has been necessary.
The other issue with the lack of locker rooms, is the lack of showers. Unless you live on or near campus, it’s not easy or convenient to shower after a workout. For anyone who commutes to school, it becomes virtually impossible. This forces people to either spend the rest of the day smelling of sweat, or workout at end of the day, when they can head home and shower. This results in a couple of things. First, it makes it impossible to grab a workout during a break, which means you have to start planning workout times. This is highly troublesome, as it may be that the only time available to workout is during a break, and with the growing concern about obesity, is something that should be encouraged, not hindered. Second, it limits the types of activities that are available. This gets back to the general lack of locker rooms, as well. Without showers and locker rooms, the pool can’t be open. Now, I am aware of talk about getting rid of the pool, but as yet, that hasn’t happened, and Tech represents about the only good lap pool in the area, as the Y pool I consider to cold, and distraction from the other pool interferes with it. Additionally, more related to the lack of locker rooms, is the fact that the racquetball courts have been converted into temporary locker rooms, removing them from use. This means that there are no racquetball classes, which is one way to get people into the HPER and get them active.
The locker rooms were closed the end of last semester. Since that time, there has been a great deal of work done on the new expansion, but the locker rooms have remained closed. Finally, just before Thanksgiving break, some major progress was apparent with the mens locker room, but the womens locker rooms remain missing in action. The result of this, is a growing trend of students and faculty that have decided to join a private gym. While that is their right, there is still the issue that I pay a HPER Use Fee, which gives me access for that semester. Now, I am forced consider joining a gym, and paying the membership, on top of the fee Tech already assessed, or not be able to workout to the level I want. In a time when the First Lady is campaigning for fitness in children, obesity and health are a growing concern, and rising costs everywhere, I’m placed in a position to choose with money already tight. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems like a bad situation. And it is not getting any better.
When the locker rooms closed, it was supposed to be for the summer, and they would reopen in time for football. That obviously didn’t happen. Personally, I think it’s time that it did. I think the focus should be on getting the locker rooms open, and getting the HPER back to a fully usable state for everyone. Build the new expansion after the HPER is made usable again. Either that, or waive the HPER Use Fee until the remodeling is finished, and let me use it for a gym membership.