After some delay, the most recent addition to Rose Hill’s athletic facilities is available for use by students and faculty. Located in the Lombardi Center above the squash courts, this new facility was originally slated to open in late October, but a tweet by Rose Hill’s United Student Government (USG) broke the news midway through the month that the Athletic Department had pushed the opening back to January.
In an earlier interview with The Fordham Ram, Director of Athletics David Roach stated that the delay was a result of ordering higher quality equipment.
“We didn’t go with the less expensive, cheaper equipment,” said Roach. “When we went to order it, we could get the plates, dumbbells and bars whenever we wanted, but the racks are being custom-made and manufactured.”
While many students were still frustrated over the delay, Roach’s statement alleviated some of the concern felt by students and faculty alike. Frequenters of the Ram Fit Center, which has been Rose Hill’s only public weight facility for nearly a year, were assured that the overcrowding issue would be resolved upon their return for the beginning of the second semester.
Unfortunately, when Jan. 12 arrived and Rose Hill was bustling again, the space designed to supplement the Ram Fit Center’s free weight equipment was occupied only by rubber platforms, dumbbells and scattered plates. Missing from the space were the three weight racks which were supposed to have been set up over the (admittedly short) winter break. This additional delay was not due to an error on the part of the athletic department, however, but by the company from which they had ordered the equipment.
“Whenever you order the stuff, you never know,” said Roach. “The racks had to be custom made, and when [the company] sent everything, they sent some of the wrong parts. Having been in this business for a long time, as much as you want things to go according to plan, they don’t always do.”
On Jan. 30, a little over two weeks after campus re-opened for the start of the second semester, it was announced via a tweet from @FordhamClub_Rec that the three power lifting racks were in place in Lombardi and that the facility was “open for business.” Unlike the racks in the Ram Fit Center, the newly-placed ones in Lombardi Center are dual-sided — one for exercises involving a bench and the other for squatting, deadlifting, etc.— so that two people may use each rack simultaneously.
We wanted to utilize the space in the best way we could,” said Roach, “so we decided to go with the multiple-use racks.”
Although this new area only supports six people, not including additional occupants who may choose to work in on sets with others, the goal is that this will provide enough additional space to take the edge off of the Ram Fit Center’s small free weight space. Given the confines of the latter, six fewer people at a given time may indeed provide the long-awaited solution for which students and faculty have been waiting.
Roach admits that it is “no big secret” that a lack of space is a nagging issue experienced by the athletic department, but he is confident that the new equipment will help the situation. This lack of space becomes somewhat more noticeable when the university pool hosts events or competitions, as one of the entrances into the spectator stands is located in the same room as the new equipment. However, Roach does not believe this will cause any safety concerns.
“We don’t have a lot of meets,” said Roach. “There will just have to be some recognition on the part of both the spectators and the students using the facility.”
Those using the new powerlifting racks will undoubtedly notice a number of new signs posted around the area, in addition to the usual ones which instruct those using the facility to re-rack their weights following the completion of their workout. Most notably, perhaps, will be one which reads, “If You Are Too Weak to Return Your Weights, Please Contact Security and Myrtle Will Be Happy to Assist You.”
According to Roach, this sign, while intended to be humorous, was posted as a reaction to the theft of equipment from the new facility. Although Lombardi Center does have a security guard on duty at all times — including veteran guards such as Myrtle, the one mentioned in the sign — there is little that they or the athletic department can do to prevent the theft of smaller items, such as dumbbells or plates of a lighter weight.
“We’re hoping that the students will start to police it,” said Roach.
These signs are a firm, but polite, reminder to those using the facility that the equipment should be respected and returned following its use.