This summer, the Patterson Fitness Center, located on the second floor of the Kenyon Athletic Center , got a facelift.
The frequent dropping of heavy weights caused many floor beams to break, necessitating a repair. In addition to replacing the beams, Justin Newell, director of the KAC, decided to cover the entire free-weight area with an inch-thick rubber mat. The mat, complete with the Kenyon crest, is designed to absorb extra weight and save the new beams from the fate of the previous ones.
Additionally, new ellipitical machines have caused a bit of a stir. Newell chose a new brand based on online research and input from different salespeople. “This was kind of a quick turnover ﾗ from everything I read, these were kind of top of the line,” Newell said. He said he also prioritized energy-efficiency.
Student response concerning the new ellipticals has been mixed, and many claim the old ones provided a better workout. “The new ellipticals seem harder, but you don’t go as far and you don’t burn as many calories,” Maria Sorkin ’16 said. “Maybe the old ones were just lying to us.”
Kenyon’s repair and replacement program, which allows for each department to submit yearly requests, made the purchase of the ellipticals and flooring possible. “We submit to the Board of [Trustees] and to [Chief Business Officer] Mark Kohlman our list of things that we feel are slowly degrading and that we need to replace,” Newell said.
The repair and replace program works off of a yearly budget of $2 million for new equipment and around $3 million for building improvements.
“We set some money aside every year in preparation for longer-term projects, like the replacement of the KAC’s roof,” Kohlman said.
The fitness center’s renovations cost roughly $140,000 total ﾗ $20,000 for new flooring beams, $60,000 for the protective rubber pad and $80,000 for the ellipticals.
The cost of the repairs raises questions about the longevity of the KAC, given that it opened only seven years ago in 2006. Newell said replacements and repairs are inevitable and more cost-effective in the long run. “[The ellipticals] were breaking down frequently and the cost to repair them [meant] ﾅ it was actually cheaper to get new ones,” he said. It would cost roughly $3,500 to repair one of the old ellipticals compared to $5,000 to buy a new one, according to Newell.
New stationary bikes are next on the docket, but the selection process will be different. Rather than choose the bikes based on online reviews and sales pitches, there will be test bikes in the KAC for student review.
“We want to be able to update so that in a student’s four years here, they’re seeing new equipment [in the fitness center] and they aren’t using the same stuff all four years,” Newell said.