By Bethany Ellingson and Adam Holte
Updated: May 31, 2013
After five years at the Armory, college administrators are bringing the Fitness Center back to campus. The college is hoping the move will save money and at the same time expand the hours available to students.
The Fitness Center, which has been located at the Armed Forces Reserve Center since 2009, has caused frustration for some students. Some of the main issues are the distance from the main campus and the limited hours of operation.
A meeting held on April 22 invited students and faculty to discuss the possibility of the move. Two of the key issues that were covered at the meeting include where to put the new Fitness Center on campus, and how to maintain the current overall square footage for classrooms.
Campus officials said the new Fitness Center would be located in the space currently occupied by rooms E124 and E125. However, in order to maintain classroom square footage, those rooms would need to be moved.
One option under discussion is repurposing the Student Life offices. The Student Life Offices would then be moved to room E103. The second option that was discussed was remodeling the magazine section of the library to create two classroom spaces.
Bonnie Boese, a librarian at the school library, was opposed to this option. She said that it’s “awful” to consider any part of the library for reconstruction. She said, “It is important to get the fitness center on campus.” But, she said, “I will always fight for space for students in the library.”
Moving the Fitness Center back to campus would save the college $25,000 a year, architect Kate Yurko said at the April 22 meeting.
In a followup email, Student Government President Drew Reilly said having the center at the Armory costs the college in rent per hour, so keeping it open is expensive which limits the hours.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College student Riki Cummings said that she would be more likely to use the facilities if they were located on campus. She also expressed frustration over the hours, saying they were, “A bad time for students.”
Another student, Luke Larson, said he would be fine if the Fitness Center moved onto campus, but said he would be opposed to the move if the new facilities were smaller.
The cost of renovating E124 and E125 for a new Fitness Center is an estimated $115,000, Yurko said.
Creating two new classrooms, either out of the Student Life offices or the magazine section of the library would be another estimated $155,000, she said.
Facilities manager Roger Freeman said the college will have further discussion of location and options this fall, with a possible move date for the Fitness Center of fall 2015.