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The Dartmouth
May 28, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

New women's lockers a possibility at gym

A tentative plan for the renovation of the female locker rooms in the Berry Gym will be presented today to a panel of faculty and staff members. The project, which has drawn estimates of nearly $400,000, will provide separate facilities for female faculty and staff, who until now have shared space with undergraduates.

Female employees of the College have complained over the lack of separate facilities since the building was built in the 1980s. Jennifer Coleman, facilities manager for athletics, identified two main areas of conflict.

The first is the issue of a separate locker room for female faculty and staff, who Coleman said "feel they would like to be separated" from the students' area.

The second complaint is centered on the general quality of the female facilities in comparison to male locker rooms. This problem has surfaced recently, said Associate Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Ozzie Harris.

Harris said he thought a main reason for the planned renovation is the current campus construction, which he said has raised people's awareness of "what we could be doing."

Though the Berry Gym renovations will total only a fraction of other campus projects like the Webster Hall construction and the over $60 million Berry Library project, the plan will still require a large amount of College money.

Director of Athletics Dick Jaeger said he was "scared" by the initial estimates given by the Facilities Planning Office, which he thought were "way high."

"It's certainly not in our budget," he said, but he remained optimistic that the project will be built in the not-so-distant future. Jaeger said a possible starting time might be this summer, since student use of the area would be low.

The actual plan would create new locker rooms out of existing undergraduate women's facilities for female staff and faculty and would not entail more construction or additions in the Berry Center.

"This is a completely interior renovation," said George Hathorn, College architect. "There will be no loss of space, just a more efficient use."

However, the expense involved with building and demolishing walls will increase the project's price tag, as well as the huge costs of installing ventilation systems.

Jaeger expressed concern over whether future Berry Center construction could negate these renovations. Jaeger said he doesn't want to spend a lot of money and then see the locker rooms renovated again.

"Alumni gym needs a lot of work in a lot of ways," he said.

The project is still "very much in flux," said Hathorn, but he said the meeting today would help faculty add their insights on the plans.