When the Trudy Fitness Center opens its doors at 6 a.m. on Monday, the first thing students will notice will be President Herbst on a cardio machine – he will be the first official patron. The second thing they will notice will be the ceiling. The top level, which contains the cardiovascular equipment, is crowned with bright, massive wooden rafters that, with the equally striking windows on all sides, give the whole building the feel of a ski lodge. Below, the shiny new polyurethane barbells, dumbbells and weights each proudly display the Colgate logo. If it can remain relatively uncrowded during that infamous 3 to 6 p.m. time slot, the new gym should prove to be a very impressive and welcome addition to campus. It is also abundantly evident that in the planning of the new gym, students’ concerns were heard loud and clear.
Colgate has been ranked one of the most physically fit college campuses in the nation, yet students have, in recent years, expressed dissatisfaction with the William Brian Little Fitness Center, which opened in 1994. Students’ fitness woes centered on the capacity of the gym and the ensuing congestion at peak times along with the disrepair of some of the equipment. Indeed, Student Government Association (SGA) presidents have, for many years, campaigned on the gym issue.
The new gym, named after the mother of one of the lead alumni donors, is nearly triple the size of Little – 14,825 square feet in total. The project was officially announced in February of last year, and construction began on March 22. When all is said and done on Monday, the total cost for the project, including construction and equipment, will have been $7.8 million.
The cardiovascular equipment is more than doubling in number, which should alleviate many of the late-afternoon treadmill lines. The “cardio” floor is made up of all new machines, including 25 treadmills, 24 elliptical machines and a number of other machines including ergonomic recumbent bicycles and Adaptive Motion Trainers (AMTs) – a cross between a step machine and an elliptical. Each cardio machine includes a 15″ touch screen that serves as the workout controls and as a television. Each machine also has an iPod connection that can be controlled through the touch screen and a USB port. Students who are curious about their workout habits can bring their own external drives to record workout data. Additionally, each machine is wirelessly connected to the Internet. This connection serves two purposes: gym monitors can efficiently detect when servicing is required on a machine and students will be able to customize workouts by accessing their workout history, establishing and modifying training goals and getting workout recommendations.
Each of the new machines have been personally tested by Assistant Director of Athletics for Medical Services and Head Athletic Trainer Steve Chouinard and Assistant Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coach Paul Stinson. Janet Little, Director of Recreational Sports, said that additional student staff will be on hand in Trudy for the first couple of weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Moreover, representatives from Precor, the corporation that manufactured the new cardio equipment, will be on hand on Tuesday to walk students through the new features.
Below the cardio floor, the “strength” floor is almost entirely made up of new weight equipment, including eight new weight racks and adaptable benches and will double the number of Smith and leg press machines. It seems that the main concerns students have with the strength facilities in Little are equipment crowding, and this has been addressed on the strength floor in Trudy.
Access to the gym’s two levels will be through turnstiles requiring students to swipe their ‘Gate Card for access. While all students have been issued cards that will work with the new turnstiles, some faculty, staff and community members have had to replace their cards, which has kept Campus Safety busy over the past few days.
While the vast majority of the features of the new gym will be ready for its opening Monday, a few small projects remain to be completed over the coming months. Associate Director of Facilities and Manager of Capital Projects Joe Bello expects a complex of cubbies to be completed by mid-February. An audio system for playing music throughout the gym, such as that in the Little gym, along with a television for the strength floor should also be installed soon.
The Trudy Fitness Center is expected to be certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver by the U.S. Green Building Council. Bello explained that this certification is based on: construction materials used, energy use, waste production, water efficiency and a number of other factors.
The varsity weight room, currently located on the third floor of Huntington Gymnasium, will move down to the soon-to-be-evacuated Little Fitness Center. Most of the cardio equipment currently in the Little Fitness Center will be sold to offset the cost of Trudy’s construction. The third floor of Huntington will remain vacant until enough financial support can be gathered to convert it into new recreational space. Janet Little expressed that this future renovation will likely transform the third floor into an aerobic exercise and dance studio, but that planning and fundraising for this project have not begun.
Construction included a three-way connector between Huntington, the Lineberry Natatorium, and the new gym. The room adjacent to the connector remains vacant for the time being; there is speculation that it may be converted into a small lounge.
The new 66-space parking lot will open once all construction equipment is removed, which should put less pressure on the Cutten Hall and Huntington Gym lots.
President Jeffrey Herbst will officially open Trudy on Monday, January 31 at 6 a.m. Students are advised that the daily noon-1 p.m. Faculty/Staff-only hour will remain in effect.