Dodge Fitness Center – The long queues for the 70 units of the Dodge Fitness Center equipment, two bench press machines, and an obsolete stretch mat are life facts for those who choose to use this facility. Acute density is inevitable when the largest population of students in the Ivy League has the smallest campus gym. And while some multi-million dollar projects have improved the university’s athletic facilities dramatically in recent years, Dodge remains unchanged effectively since 1995.

Dodge Fitness Center

But in October 2015, athletic Director Peter Pilling announced that the department would have plans to renovate a decaying facility in four to six months. Now, more than a year and a half after notice Pilling, the department claimed to have that plan.

The project is currently undergoing a process of examination, according to Pilling. It must win extensive administrative approvals before submissions can be sent to the University Supervisory board for review.

In the last 50 years, the university has made several attempts to provide a fitness room on campus – including a proposal for the famous Morningside Park Gym in the late 1960 ‘s. These efforts have resulted in diverse, at best, outcomes. In the recent Life quality survey of the Senate University, Columbia students ranked “fitness services” at Columbia lower than the often deified campus targets such as “Mental health,” “social life, “and ” administration. “

The space on the Morningside campus is very limited and should be shared carefully, so as to make renovations, the athletic department commissioned the management company Brailsford & Dunlavey-who had previously worked with the university during development Lerner Hall in the late 1990-an.- “To conduct market analysis for the project’s revenue-generating components and provide an independent third-party evaluation of the facility.”

The company conducts a series of evaluations that produce a lot of data meant to demonstrate the lack of Dodge and predict future student and faculty needs. This Data will help demonstrate the defect gravity of Dodge to the university decision maker.

“If you look at cardio rooms and weight training rooms, based on the data we collect, we are about 16 percent of the capacity we need. … We can serve the community, the campus community, better, “Pilling said.

Operationally inadequate

Between 4,000 and 6,000 people every day use Dodge during the peak months of the winter, according to Erich Ely, the director of athletic associations for facility operations and capital projects.

“We did a friction evaluation at the front desk [at Dodge], and the last few years are right about a million – – one million friction a year, and keep going up every year,” says Ely.

According to Ely, this high figure causes extreme wear, most obviously on cardio equipment, which is hired department from outside vendors.

“Every two to three years, we have vendors who tell us they have never released equipment from facilities that have been used this much. There are 70 pieces of cardio equipment for the university population, and they are pretty much used constantly starting at 6 a.m. to midnight. “

At the 25-metre Uris pond, students should often swim five to the track during peak hours. Because a number of groups, classes, and teams are competing for time, the Uris Pool is only available for leisure swimming 35 hours a week.

Dodge Fitness Center holds only two bench press to serve the entire student body.

“In general, it has the ethos of just being the minimum,” says Siena Ward, CC ‘,. “The university can say they have a gym, but it’s really just a minimum.”

In recent years, the lack of Dodge has been in stark contrast to the university’s athletic facilities, which have grown very large in size and quality. Columbia’s six-year athletic athletic campaign worth $100 million, completed in 2013, enabled departments that historically lacked money to build on a scale that had not been imagined before. Since 2012, the university has opened the Campbell Sports Center for $30 million, 48,000 square feet, athletic bubbles worth $10 million, and archery facilities at 132nd Street, and renovating Chrystie Field House, Gould-Remmer Boat House, and a number of facilities Smaller universities, both in Baker Field and in Dodge.

However, despite the overall improvement of athletic facilities, very few have been done to modify Dodge since the last renovation.

“Campbell [Sports Center] in Baker Field hasn’t really changed anything here,” says Roger Lehecka CC ‘ 67, who served as dean of Students for 19 years and is now a seminar instructor at the Center for American Studies. “And from a Columbia perspective, with all the publicity that resulted from competitive sports, they will always be more concerned with that success. How well the recreational program does not run in the New York Times every weekend. ”

But now the department has committed to diverting its resources and attention towards the development of recreational spaces that are largely ignored.

Identifying needs

“We don’t keep the fact that the campus recreation is the drive of this project, and it has been from the beginning,” says Ely.

Pilling imagines not only a wider gym, but also a more social gym – noting, as many others have, the scarcity of such spaces on campus.

“We have identified the lounge area that people can visit and just spend their time. That seems like one of the challenges we have on this campus: where is the space where people can come and spend time? “He said. “The more space we create in one big field, the better we can achieve those goals not only from a health standpoint, but also from a social standpoint.”

He also suggests the possibility of the juice bar at Dodge — another proposal that could make Dodge not only fitness goals but also social centres.

Many students and administrators agree that gym conditions contribute to a lack of community, not only noting scarcity of equipment and space but also a desperate environment.

“It feels like it’s built for a purpose, but now it’s really inadequate to serve that purpose,” said Irina Teveleva, CC, 17, said. “It feels like a place that really isn’t friendly to me.”

Athletic department personnel were the first to acknowledge the deficiency. “I also do not want to work here, ” said Abbey Lade, director of Physical education. “Dark, dark, not always inspiring. We understand that. ”

The two cardio floors at the top and bottom of the fitness center of the tri-level Dodge accommodate 70 cardio machines.

In addition to overseeing the PE department, which serves 1,500 students per semester, Lade has tried to encourage new programs and initiatives in Dodge that might make the space more enjoyable, but has been severely constrained by the lack of space.

“When I was interviewing for this work, the metaphor [interviewer] for Dodge was that it felt like putting a 10 pound weight in a five pound bag. That’s what we’re trying to do here. “

But increasing recreational resources can prove difficult sales to the government, as Columbia does not rely on recreational facilities to attract as many potential students as other institutions do, according to Lade.

“Schools that are competing for applicants need to have bells and whistles to attract students. Columbia doesn’t need that, “says Lade.” Students do not come here because of recreational activities, and if you are annoyed because we do not offer the recreational opportunities there are others who will replace you and we will not be hurt. “

But Lade argues that if recreational students are to see a serious improvement, more students and administrators should start to see the lack of a fitness room as a mental health problem – especially on campus with a culture of stress that Extends.

“It must come from a health perspective,” he added.

Elected to take part in the JED Committee for the Board of Mental Health Foundation, Pilling itself is now ready to help the university get involved with this issue. The task force was led by Dean Columbia College James Valentini, who said in his update on the JED campus assessment that he hopes to increase efforts in supporting mental health and overall health — efforts, Students have noted, which is in high demand. Pilling added sounds for athletes – students and fitness body students.

But the issue of improving overall student health in connection with recreation has been recorded since the beginning of Pilling’s tenure, as president of the University of Lee Bollinger, in his letter introducing Pilling as athletic Director to The university in 2015, writes: “[the university] appreciates the importance of long-term investments in the health and well-being of our entire campus community. “

Brailsford’s plans & Dunlavey, while still unclear, strive to manifest “long-term investments.” However, it does not seem to include provisions to expand the Dodge physically or for the construction of new buildings-well on campus The new Manhattanville. or elsewhere — according to the Brailsford & Dunlavey website. Instead, the company was commissioned by athletics with “Providing recommendations on how to best optimize the facilities and resources of existing departments.”

This marks the departure of the efforts of most of the Columbia’s not enough over the last few decades to overhaul or add to the significant recreation of the campus. These past proposals generally pack new facilities for students together with new university facilities.

Troubled history

Following the gym proposal of Morningside Park in the late 60 ‘s — which was proposed for his role in triggering the infamous ‘ 68 Riot — Columbia opened Dodge in 1974 as two universities and a recreational room. But the facility has become old-fashioned in 1991. At the time, athletic director John Reeves decided to assign well-known architectural firm Davis Brody & Associates to developing a comprehensive “master plan for Recreation and athletics”.

These plans, acquired Spectator, not only called for the renovation of Dodge from top to bottom but also proposed the construction of a six-storey athletic complex in a place that then became the last undeveloped space of Morningside-a plot Land on the northwest corner of the campus. The complex will include several floors of athletic offices, a swimming pool, and a rooftop tennis court. But Athletics was unable to accumulate $25 million necessary for construction, and that, combined with the university’s disputes, destroyed the project. The result is the partial renovation of Dodge, which roughly corresponds to the concept of B1 proposal – an intermediate size intended to “show odds rather than a solution.” The proposed aquatic center at 121st Street and Amsterdam, which will liberate the very dense Dodge. The URIs Pool, experiencing similar fate.

This facility is proposed to be built where the Northwest Corner Building is currently standing.

And in 2004, an incident occurred when Reeves, studying from the audience’s article that the Northwest Corner Building would be exclusively devoted to science, publicly alleged that the university administration had denied the promise that two Floor building will be available for athletics. . Reeves is not available to comment on this issue.

As of now, no new proposal for student recreation facilities has been made – – with the exception of the 2007 plan that is considered lightweight to change the sixth floor of Lerner (which remained unused during the first eight years of existence Building) into a second gym. It never materialized. Recently, former athletic director M. Dianne Murphy said in an interview with Spectator 2012 that Manhattanville’s expansion will include a space dedicated to recreation, intramurals, and sports clubs. The plan has not yet materialized, either – – even though the new campus will include a 7,000-square-foot retail climbing gym, where Columbia students will be able to purchase a membership with a discount of $10 per month. M. Dianne Murphy refused to comment on this story.

But while the university has promised to improve Dodge, Lade believes that in order for the facility to undergo a full renovation is required – and not just another in a series of partial improvements – students cannot passively expect to Administrative support, but need changing requests.

“I really think it’s important that it comes from students — that they say ‘ we need more space! ‘,” she says. “To get the support of the President, we can tell him until we appear blue, but if the children do not ask them, they will spend their resources elsewhere.”