Gym Renovations to Create More Inviting Fitness Center and Improved Training Facilities

Posted September 22nd, 2009 at 3:50 pm.

Image Courtesy Buell Kratzer Powell

Architect's rendering courtesy Buell Kratzer Powell

Bryn Mawr’s Bern Schwartz Gymnasium is set to undergo a $7.5 million renovation that will give students a better-equipped, more inviting contemporary fitness center and the Athletic Department a much-improved training facility.

The design plan for the renovation, which was approved at the April meeting of the College’s board of trustees, was recently finalized and unveiled by Athletic Director Kathleen Tierney.

One major goal of the design is to bring more natural light into the building and to improve the overall appearance of the facility.

A large glass atrium will be built around the current entrance that will reach into and open up the second-floor fitness area, giving exercisers a view of the outside world as they work out. A large window overlooking the pool area will, in addition to introducing more light, allow spectators a great vantage point for swim meets.

In addition, the plan calls for windows along the back wall of the fitness center and the introduction of natural-light elements on the walls flanking the atrium.

“Introduction of natural light will create a fitness center that is not only warm and inviting, but functions as a place for students, faculty, staff and alumnae to gather.” says Tierney.

Image Courtesy Buell Kratzer Powell

Architect's rendering courtesy Buell Kratzer Powell

For those not wanting to take in the newly created views, there will also be a number of flat screen televisions to watch.

Planned equipment upgrades and additions include state-of-the art cardio and strength equipment.

“We are exploring what types of equipment will best meet the needs of the entire Bryn Mawr community. We understand the value of having certain bedrock pieces, but with the technological advances made in the fitness equipment field we are certainly looking at incorporating some of the new innovative pieces as well. The layout of the equipment will be done in a way to maximize the beautiful views of campus and the fitness needs of the users,” says Tierney.

Room for the new equipment will be made available by moving the athletic offices downstairs, which allows for the entire second floor to be utilized as a fitness center.

“Addressing the renovation and repair needs of the building are also important goals of the project,” says Tierney. The pool will get a complete facelift and the locker rooms will be completely renovated. Faculty and staff offices will be improved spaces as well and the entire building will be wireless.”

The tentative schedule for the project calls for construction to begin in late November/early December 2009 and for the gym to be offline until August of 2010.

The former Rhoads Dining Hall will serve as a temporary fitness space during the construction period, and students, staff, and faculty always have use of Haverford’s fitness center.

“We have a physical-education curriculum that we have to deliver in the spring. We plan to keep students on track to meet their physical-education requirements,”  says Tierney. My staff is in the process of developing outdoor classes and activities that can be done when the weather is nice and looking at how to make the best use of Rhoads and other alternative spaces.”

Tierney is planning to have an open house later in the fall to introduce the community to the building design and provide an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to give input into decisions regarding new fitness equipment and programming.

“Since Schwartz Gym was dedicated in 1983 there has been a revolution in the way women in particular value and pursue fitness and sports goals. Almost 50 percent of enrolling students in the class of 2012 participated in interscholastic sports. Today’s scholars understand the importance of engaging in an active lifestyle and we’re committed to providing environment that supports that philosophy,” says Tierney.

In the weeks ahead the Athletic Department will be sending several e-mails to the campus community with more information about the open house; a detailed timeline for the closure of the gym and opening of the Rhoads Dining Hall space as an alternative fitness center; and the launch of a Web page dedicated to the project.

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