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The Dartmouth
February 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Gym to be completed by April

Dartmouth students and staff members will only have to brave conditions at the interim fitness center for another few months, as construction proceeds according to schedule, according to a job meeting held Tuesday.

The renovations to Alumni Gymnasium are still expected to be finished by mid April, officials said.

The new gym will be much more spacious and have better ventilation, flooring and sound systems than its predecessor, according to Associate Provost Mary Gorman and Assistant Director of Planning, Design and Construction John Scherding.

The new fitness center will also be fully air conditioned, aimed to quell student complaints about high temperatures in the interim fitness center.

"The spaces for the FLIP [Fitness and Lifestyle Improvement Program] and PE classes will be hugely improved as well," Gorman said. These classes will use a number of new multipurpose rooms, some located in the wing formerly occupied by the Manley Varsity Training Center and others overlooking the Karl Michael Pool.

In addition, the new fitness center will sport a large number of new machines and pieces of equipment, as well as a new method of checking out this equipment.

"I was told that there will be an actual athletic equipment rental area," fitness center desk monitor Ryan Payne '06 said.

Under the past system, desk monitors, whose job it is to answer the phone and collect the Dartmouth identification cards of gym users, were also charged with checking out athletic equipment, such as squash racquets. With so many other responsibilities, these monitors rarely were able to inspect athletic equipment upon its return, a system that led to the equipment's gradually deteriorating condition.

"Many of the squash racquets are warped, and a lot of times they run out of them," Brandon Fenn '07 said.

In the new athletic equipment rental area, a staff member will inspect equipment to make sure it is returned in the same condition in which it was checked out.

Another proposed, but not yet confirmed, addition to the gym involves the installation of turnstiles at the entrance, which will be activated by Dartmouth identification cards, to ensure that the facilities are only used by authorized people.

Although recent estimates project that the gym will be completed in mid April, the College is working to expedite the renovation process.

"We are always pushing the contractor to do better [on the completion date]," Scherding said.

Although the project was initially slated for completion in January, the date changed after an expansion of the initial plans. While the original plan called for the new fitness center to take up only 60 percent of the upper gym, now it will encompass the entire upper gym and mezzanine.

The project's time frame and cost was increased even more because of additional work on the gym's roof.

"It got a little more complicated and more expensive," Scherding said. The most recent construction cost estimate is $12 million.

Despite the expansion of plans, however, the construction has been proceeding relatively smoothly.

"It's really what you'd expect when you go into a 95-year-old building," Gorman said.