With the old gym closed, will the Current Gym Arrangement Work Out?

The entire Fordham student body now just have access to  one fitness facility. Ram Archives

After the old gym closed, Fordham students have access to one gym, Ram Fit Center. Some students are casting doubts that it provides enough space for the student body. Ram Archives

By Michael Cavanaugh  
Students returning to Rose Hill for the fall semester will soon find the campus is with one less fitness facility.
As a result of renovations that began during the past spring semester, the two-room facility located on the second floor of the Lombardi Center was closed down.
The now-defunct fitness center, formerly a popular fitness hub for a large number of students, was marked for renovation by the administration. The heavily-used equipment was sold to a fitness company in late July.
While renovations to aging facilities are typically welcomed, negative feedback has been voiced by the student body upon learning that the old weight room is closed.
“It’s a real shame because sometimes the Ram Fit Center gets overcrowded and the upstairs gym was a good escape with a lot of room and free weights,” Martin McCormack, FCRH ’15, said. “Plus that’s where I worked out a lot with my friends.”
McCormack’s sentiments are shared by many students, whether they regularly used the Lombardi fitness facilities or preferred the more modern, flashy aesthetics of the Ram Fit Center, which first opened its doors in October 2012.
This main concern held in regard to the new fitness center is the inadequate space allotted for free weights, an integral part of many resistance training regimens.
Even in off-peak hours, students have difficulty finding open benches of which the Ram Fit Center only has a handful. Couple this with just two power lifting racks, an angled leg press, a rack for barbells, and an obscurely-placed seated calf raise machine, all placed within a relatively short, narrow hallway, and you have a recipe for a facility that will seem overcrowded with just half a dozen students.
The mirror-lined room does contain an adequate amount of dumbbells, but the layout of the area places them in the path of the fire exit, prohibiting individuals from placing benches in front of the rack. Those who do so are scolded by the security guard on duty and instructed to return the bench to the adjacent narrow hallway.
David Roach, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Fordham University, admits that the space for free weight exercises is not as big as the department would like for it to be, but he cited student safety as a primary reason for the gym’s elimination.
“Once we had the new fitness center, with the old one not really supervised, we really wanted a place where the students are supervised for safety reasons,” he said.
Roach also mentioned that the allocation of funds to expand the women’s basketball office was part of the reasoning behind the decision to get rid of the older fitness center.
The A-10 Champion team’s office has since been expanded into what was once the aerobic space of the facility. In addition, plans to renovate the Lombardi Center bathrooms have allegedly caused some of the upstairs space to be shifted around.
Despite this, Roach was sympathetic towards the frustration of both the students and faculty and staff members who frequent the university’s fitness center.
“I would say that going into the Ram Fit area becomes too overcrowded, then we will figure out a way to come up with an auxiliary space,” he said, though he did not expand on specifics.
Nevin Kulangara, President of United Student Government, GSB’15, is attempting to seize the opportunity to figure out solutions regarding a potential gym overflow.
“Many students have expressed their frustration with the limited free weights space in the Ram Fit Center,” Kulangara said in a USG statement. “This is a great opportunity for USG to meet its purpose: to listen to the student body and work with the administration to explore ways to alleviate the concerns of the students using this space.”
It remains unclear if the administration will respond if students continue to voice complaints about the new arrangement.
Kris Venezia contributed reporting.

There are 3 comments

  1. Lizzy

    As a current Fordham student,the closing of this fitness center is a real disappointment. The Lombardi fitness center not only contained numerous pieces of effective cardiovascular and resistance equipment (such as its four power racks in exceptional condition) but provided necessary exercise space to accommodate its nearly 8,000 undergraduates (plus additional graduate students, facility and staff). The new fitness facility does not contain nearly enough pieces of cardio equipment or locker space to contain the high volume of students that use it and the new free weight area has been downgraded to exactly what the author described it as, a “narrow hallway”. Furthermore, it is evident that the allocation of funds to the women’s basketball team is the primary motive behind this move, not safety. With a constantly blocked fire exit, weights flying around in a “narrow hallway”, and a single supervisor unable to enforce rules due to a bombardment of students entering the fitness center, safety is a bigger concern than ever. Considering the costly tuition that many students pay and the likely decrease of funds allocated towards fitness facilities, I hope the administration promptly addresses this issue

  2. Randy (@raclinton)

    Nope. The free weight area was crowded over the summer, I can’t imagine what it will be like during the fall. Someone should go in the free weight area and count how many people could realistically use the equipment at the same time. Any more than 3 or 4 people in there and you can’t walk by to grab a dumb bell or bar bell. People slide the benches out in front of the weight stack and then there’s really no room.

    You should head over there next week and take a photo of just how crowded that little space is.

    1. Randy (@raclinton)

      PS: about being “scolded” by security… nope. Nearly every time I was in the gym over the summer the bench had either been left by the weight stack (in front of the fire exit) or people were using it there. I think I saw a security guard walk back there once.


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