After years of dissatisfaction with the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center, the administration has approved a construction plan to renovate the Henley Hall basement into a 4,000 square-foot fitness center, according to Student Government Association (SGA) President Mitchell Rosenberg.
SGA has been working to expand Chapman’s gym facilities since 2016, Rosenberg stated in an email to the Chapman community on Tuesday. Construction is anticipated to start at the end of May and be completed by fall 2019. The project budget is $1 million, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Rick Turner.
Currently, the university has two fitness centers at its Orange campus: the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center and a small gym with limited equipment in Henley Hall. The main fitness center is often crowded, so many students choose to pay for a gym membership to avoid the campus facilities all together, ChapBook Magazine reported last spring.
After its projected completion, the basement will boast two fitness rooms. One will be a spin studio for indoor cycling sessions, and the second will be used as a multipurpose room for things like Zumba, Yoga, and High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), according to the email.
The facility will also include new fitness equipment and an open space for free weights, stretching, and core workouts, as well as a service desk where students can rent out sports equipment.
“Seeing the email got me really excited. I was also kind of sad because I’ll probably be living in (Chapman) Grand next year. I won’t be able to use it as much, but it will be nice for the freshmen next year who will have a bigger gym,” said freshman undeclared student Katie Brown.
Brown, a resident of Glass Hall, admitted to working out more in the Henley Basement because of its close proximity. Students say the main gym is flawed and overcrowded – SGA has received many complaints about its inadequacies in the past few years, according to ChapBook.
“Using student feedback and survey data expressing concern about the current lack of fitness space available causing an overcrowded fitness center, SGA’s proposal for expanded fitness space was accepted by university administration,” Rosenberg stated in his email. “This result was made possible by countless students using their platform to speak up about their concerns.”
While Rosenberg claimed that all students would have access to Henley Fitness Center as well as Julianne Argyros Fitness Center, it is unknown whether faculty members will receive the same privilege.
The gym expansion will not affect the John Biggs Conference Room, Paul Frizler Media Room, the two music practice rooms, laundry room, and Chapman Radio booth. The four billiard tables, however, will be “removed and re-tasked as needed,” according to Turner.
“We do come to the basement a lot because it is a big hang out space. We also use the media room a lot for hall events. It would be very unfortunate to lose those areas in order to put in a gym,” said freshman film production major CJ Mitchell.
More updates from SGA and Fitness and Recreation Services will be given throughout this semester, according to Rosenberg. The center will be taking student recommendations for equipment and services at www.chapman.edu/fitness.
Starting on Feb. 18, the university will be accepting job applications for students who want to work in the Henley Hall Fitness Center during the 2019-2020 school year, according to the email.