Phase two of the University Sports Centre’s £14 million redevelopment project made a major step towards completion with the opening of a new gym last week.
The gym was initially scheduled to open in September, but structural issues within the Sports Centre pushed the anticipated opening to early December. After contractors finished ahead of schedule, however, the new gym opened to all existing users on Wednesday 16 November.
The University’s strength and conditioning coach, Luke Birmingham, stressed that the major difference between the old and new gym was the increased space. The removal of several interior walls and a three metre extension at the front of the building have given users and staff more space to spread out equipment.
The new gym is comprised of 130 stations. It features equipment specifically tailored to cardiovascular exercises, weightlifting (both free and fixed), and stretching. Stations are stocked with entirely new equipment, all supplied by Technogym. Some of the new additions include a Wattbike, an Airbike, and curved treadmills.
With 65 per cent of the St Andrews student body holding Sports Centre memberships, the quality of the equipment is vitally important. The redevelopment appears to have had the desired impact. The new gym looks more spacious and professional, and the variety of new equipment means that everyone’s needs can be satisfied.
Thanks to the new strength and conditioning suite, which is scheduled to open this week for performance teams, individuals will have better access to weights, something that had become an issue in the gym’s temporary redevelopment home. Another important addition is the inclusion of mirrors. Whilst they may not be hugely important to everyone, mirrors are useful for those lifting weights, as they can observe form and improve lifting technique.
The Saint spoke to several new users following the gym’s opening, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Although a number of people questioned the wisdom of putting the mats next to the windows by the entrance, almost everyone interviewed left glowing reviews of the new facility.
Second year astrophysics student Dennis Goodtzov, a self-professed “religious user” of the gym, was immensely pleased with the new gym.
Mr Goodtzov said, “It’s more like a proper gym, rather than a warehouse with a bunch of equipment in [it].”
He also praised the gym’s “clean, shiny, and smooth” aesthetic. Mr Goodtzov, as well as several other students interviewed, highlighted the fact that the new gym is considerably warmer than the old one.
Although some were initially critical of the University’s outlay on the Sports Centre, everyone interviewed thought it was more than worth the investment and will serve current and future St Andrews students incredibly well.
The new indoor climbing wall promised as part of phase two is almost complete, and when it is, the redevelopment programme will move into phrase three, which involves the construction of the new indoor tennis centre and firming up plans for a new boathouse off-site on Loch Ore.