Fitness minded Brock students were surprised early last week when the free weight room, long a favourite facility in the Physical Education Complex, was abolished in order to become a storage area. The move, which took place Monday, Sept. 10 is an unfortunate by-product of the growth and expansion of Brock’s Physical Education Complex. Students who have an interest in strengthening and toning will now have to pay $46 to use the Leo LeBlanc Rowing Centre until the end of the semester. Starting in January, students will have access to a brand new workout room in the new physical education building, at a price of $60 per term.Karen McAllister-Kinney, Brock’s director of recreation services, understands why students would initially be upset about the abolition of the free weight room. She points out, however, that the fees at the new facility will provide students with state of the art fitness equipment, as well as expanded change room facilities and new team rooms for varsity athletics. She also says that the fees for Brock’s new facility will be approximately half as much as one would pay for similar facilities at a private gym.
“[The cost] was spelled out in the referendum,” says McAllister-Kinney. “But I’m not sure students really focused on that.”
McAllister-Kinney also points out that gymnasiums and the running/walking track will be free to use.
“There will always be a space in this building for students to use that isn’t program space,” says McAllister-Kinney.
While the fees may well be helping to provide Brock students with a better workout, many students are upset about having to pay for a workout that was free only last week. Brock University Students Union (BUSU) President Duncan Small has been fielding angry call and e-mails from students since the change kicked in.
“There’s been a lot of students complaining,” says Small. He adds that the complaints have been coming mostly “from non-varsity athletes,” in spite of the fact that varsity athletes, many of whom are required to weight train, are being asked to ante up just like every other student.
“To provide better service and keep equipment up to date costs an enormous amount of money. This has to be paid for somehow,” he said. “Not to say that charging for use is the only option they have.”
Both Small and McAllister-Kinney admit that the use of the rowing centre is less than ideal, as the centre is not actually intended for large scale use by Brock students and is being provided as an interim space thanks to the St. Catharines Rowing Club.
“It’s still going to be the cheapest in the region, with some of the best equipment in the region,” said Small of the new facility. “Weight equipment is not a cheap investment.”