Last year, students tired of long waits for exercise equipment in the Malkin Athletic Center (MAC) were forced to head to local private gyms.
But this summer the MAC underwent $2 million renovations to nearly double its available exercise space.
The overhaul included the addition of an exercise room on the third floor, 25 new weight training stations and the clearing of the north balcony above the pool to house around 40 new cardiovascular stations.
Associate Director of Athletics Jeremy L. Gibson said the changes also included implementing air conditioning and lighting in several rooms and new paint and flooring as well. “There were some other renovations that are less programmatic, but more towards sustaining the building,” Gibson said.
Expanded weight rooms at the basement level, Gibson said, can now hold twice as much equipment thanks to a revamped locker room that allows for more recreational space.
“The footprint of the locker rooms are a little bit smaller, but they still accommodate as many people,” he said.
Gibson said a reconfigured north mezzanine of the MAC’s pool, which previously housed exercise balls and mats, is now the “mirror image of the balcony on the south side of the pool,” which holds elliptical machines, treadmills and exercise bikes.
New cardiovascular equipment will be moved into the north room in the next several days, he said.
The third floor of the building now boasts an additional exercise room, Gibson said, which will enable the MAC to offer more classes including spinning. Around 25 spinning bikes were added in the renovation.
The MAC renovations are one of a series of recent attempts to improve undergraduate recreational athletic space.
Last January, University President Lawrence H. Summers and Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 gave $250,000 to Houses to improve their gyms and allocated $75,000 to go toward new equipment in the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center (QRAC).
But the summer overhaul—a partial renovation that began this June—is not the full renovation of the MAC that many students and administrators have pushed for in past years.
“The long overdue MAC renovations are a serious step in the right direction; however, until we move all varsity sports to adequate facilities over the River, the MAC will remain a sub par facility for students,” Undergraduate Council president Matthew W. Mahan ’05 wrote in an e-mail. “Contrary to popular belief, there is actually enough space in the MAC—the problem is that a lot of it is occupied by coaches’ offices and varsity practice space, which is something that Allston planning must address.”
But for now, Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67 said a full renovation is not in the works, though a complete overhaul might be reconsidered, depending on student need.
“We’re going to take the time to assess if we’re meeting the need for fitness and condition, and if we’re not, I would guess that these questions would surface again,” Associate Dean of the College Thomas A. Dingman ’67 said.
But Dingman said that before the College could make more space for recreational athletics in the MAC, it would have to find a new option for the three intercollegiate sports that now practice there.
“We’d have to find alternative space for the three intercollegiate sports in the building now—fencing, wrestling and volleyball—and it’s hard to commit to housing woes across the river now before an overall plan is developed,” he said.
—Staff writer Margaret W. Ho can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.