Empty racks. Moldy walls. Broken machines.

Although these may pass as accurate descriptions of a townhouse living room after Friday night, they unfortunately detail a neglected student resource on campus: the RecPlex weight room.

An empty weight rack’s contents can be seen scattered about the RecPlex weight room.

“It’s awful; just so bad when compared to other schools,” said Taylor Santifort, a junior Accounting and Finance major as well as a frequent user of the RecPlex weight room facility.  Back home in Middletown, New Jersey, Santifort is a member of Centrex Sports Club, a private local gym with clean and updated facilities. He and others interviewed share a similar opinion that the weight room Fairfield University makes available to its students is drastically worse in comparison to others out there.  ”I think it’d be a better investment by the University just to completely redo the weight room,” he said.

It is a pity considering that a gym membership fee is included in every student’s tuition. Likewise, the current rate for alumni year-long memberships  is $370, a steep price when compared with other local venues like Planet Fitness and The Edge Fitness Club. ”I feel that my direct tuition is not reflected as of now,” said Jeffrey Paul ’11.  ”Other schools around here, like Fairfield Ludlowe [the high school] have better facilities,” he continued.

What it boils down to is how Fairfield University views this facility’s upkeep on its list of priorities. Judging by last Tuesday’s Student Budget Forum, it does not seem that high up at all. At the annual event, Julie L. Dolan, the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, explained the budget and its goals for the upcoming fiscal year. “We have a combination of goals between faculty, financial aid, and facilities,” Dolan said.

However, only 19 percent of the budget was to be allocated to facilities upkeep. Moreover, a $25 increase in non-student gym membership fees is also scheduled to be made, but this will be done in an effort to balance the budget and not necessarily better current facilities.

The major problem at hand seems to be one of apathy; the university sees no need to spend money revamping a facility students don’t respect and students don’t feel compelled to respect such a poorly kept facility. Paul noted, ”I’ve been here for four years now and have yet to see any improvements.” A student who wished to remain anonymous argued that “at other places [gyms] you can get kicked out for not cleaning up after yourself. Here, that can never happen.” Thus, any slight incentive for student activism in this respect fades quickly.

Another issue affecting students is the major safety hazards associated with poor upkeep and outdated equipment.

“I feel if there was someone hired to make sure there was some type of maintenance it would be more efficient,” said Paul. The neglected machines, some of which are broken or close to it, may result in a serious injury in the near future if not replaced.

“Overall i think it needs to be updated for the benefit of the students and the safety of the students,” said Santifort.

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