Because he trains where he works, Levy rarely frequents the WoodPEC anymore, but a recent visit made an impression. "It [the visit] brought home how much the gym has declined in three years," Levy said. "Pads are missing at the foot rest for the decline bench and the sit up benches. There are not enough clips for all of the straight bars so the weight is not secure. It's all an accident waiting to happen."
These sentiments are not new but recent actions by the Student Concerns Committee of the Student Government Association are.
College sophomore Adam Neuhaus brought the issue to the Committee and informed the group he had set up a meeting with a representative from Cybex. Last Wed., Tony Kizzire of Cybex toured the WoodPEC to evaluate the WoodPEC's current equipment and estimate what it might cost to replace free weights, plates, benches and some weight machines.
According to SGA Representative at Large Linsay Warren, Kizzire said the weight room lags years behind other university weight rooms of comparable size and budget. To catch up, he suggested replacing current weight plates with rubber encased ones, purchasing new weight racks and most importantly getting rid of the unsturdy benches.
But as is the case with most good ideas, they cost too much money.
As a result, important negotiations are ongoing between SGA and Athletic Director Chuck Gordon. The trick will be aligning the enthusiasm and energy from students who want a better gym with the reality that the athletic budget is very tight. Both parties will have to make some sacrifices. The WoodPEC does not necessarily need a drastic overhaul, with all brand new, top of the line equipment. Most students using the facility — on their own time or through PE classes — are not experienced or serious weight lifters. Serious thought needs to go into how new equipment will free up or reduce the WoodPEC's most endangered resource: space. Both groups, as they negotiate for new equipment, should be conscious of space restraints in the WoodPEC. Currently, benches are lined too close together restricting room for a spotter and risking the safety of the lifter working out to the left or right of a given bench. Possibly moving the 4 stationary bikes by the lockers to an upstairs location and the moving all the Cybex and Natilus machines down would create much needed breathing room and allow for some new equipment. Also removing the outdated, antique multi-purpose machine right before the abdominal benches that few people use could free up space for new or current machines.
In the next two weeks, two bills will come out of SGA. The Student Concerns Committee will resolve that the current state of the WoodPEC is dangerous and too archaic to properly serve the Emory community. In turn, the Fee Interest Committee will create a bill supporting the Student Concerns actions and take it one step further by paying for a substantial portion of the new equipment. Both bills should be of course well researched, which appears to be the case as SGA members are keeping in constant contact with Gordon and touring local gyms to ascertain the most suitable equipment for Emory. Let us hope all parties, regardless of financial matters, will keep the best interests of the student in mind.
Otherwise, Ari Levy will come looking for you and he won't be happy.
Eric DeSobe, senior associate editor, is a College senior from Houston.