Fitness center opening delayed to fall 2021


The college delayed the opening of the fitness center to the fall 2021 semester. Photo by Sabrina Ortiz / Beacon Correspondents

By Tomas Gonzalez, Staff Writer/Photographer

The college delayed the construction of a new fitness center in Piano Row’s Max Mutchnick Campus Center to fall 2021 instead of the initial spring 2020 start date, so student organizations can move out of the space and into the 172 Tremont St. building—where construction has also been delayed—a college official said. 

Athletics Director Patricia Nicol said the new fitness center will include the first lower level of the campus center and part of the lobby in the Piano Row residence hall. The current fitness center is located about a 10-minute walk away from campus at a rented building,  52 Summer St. Nicol said the college delayed work on the new fitness center until other on-campus construction, and building openings finish.

“We’ll be patient because we’re really excited—if we have to wait a little bit longer to have something that we’ll be really proud of, then it’s worth the wait,” Nicol said in an interview.

Assistant Vice President of Facilities and Campus Services Duncan Pollock said demolition work will commence in summer 2019, and construction during the winter break of 2020. He said the construction will not affect students since work on the Fitness Center will occur during breaks, but returning students will find the Piano Row entrance in a different location.

“We are going to change where the entrance for Piano Row [is] when the fitness center is done,” he said. “The new entrance is going to be on the left-hand side [of the front of the building]. That’s the only thing [that will affect students], there is no construction other than that which would affect students at all.”

Neither Nicol or Pollock could comment on how much the new fitness center would cost the college.

Michael Faia, director of construction management, could not be reached for comment.

Pollock said the college originally planned to relocate the Fitness Center to the lower levels of Little Building. But due to the Cabaret Theater opening, limiting space in the lower levels of the new building, the college decided to build the Fitness Center in Piano Row instead.

Nicol said she anticipates the need for more staffing and extended hours of operation in the new Fitness Center, as the college expects approximately 800 new students to enroll, and live on campus next semester with the opening of Little Building. Nicol also mentioned that the Sports Medicine staff will move to the first floor of the Fitness Center.

“We are very excited because it will be the first time that athletics will be all under one roof.” Nicol said in an interview.

Assistant General Manager of the Fitness Center Jennifer Boyden said noise from the Fitness Center will not affect students living in Piano Row because the walls and floor will feature technology that mitigates the impact of weights, and new equipment will be air-based instead of the plate-based brand Keiser.

“[The machine] uses compressed air instead of plates. It’s popular in a lot of gyms now as it is newer technology,” Boyden said in an interview. “It is quieter, safer and overall a better experience for users.”

Boyden added that all equipment in good condition will be moved to the new Fitness Center, but the college will replace equipment due for an update. Boyden also mentioned the college expects an increase in student use as the Fitness Center moves closer to campus.

“Going to work out is a big time commitment, we do know that coming back here will just be better for the students,” Boyden said. “We’re a little far away right now so it will just be far more convenient for everyone.”