Athletic Center Renovation Updates Still Pending
While Washington University has long identified renovation of the Athletic Complex as a top priority, designs and plans are still in their early stages and no timeline has been set for the project.
Since the AC building was redone in 1985, only minor renovations have taken place.
At his “State of the University” address earlier this month, Chancellor Mark Wrighton highlighted the renovation of the AC as one of the University’s most prominent upcoming priorities and noted that plans for its renovation are currently in process.
Dean of Students Justin Carroll confirmed that improvements will be underway soon.
Students, he said, have played an active role in looking at needed improvements. He and others working on the plans shared them with various student organizations to solicit feedback.
“At this time [there is] no specific timeline in making these improvements but I know that they are important to make,” he said.
Associate Athletic Director Joe Worlund said he believes that major renovations to the AC will happen soon.
The University is still working with architects to finish designs as well as make sure that there are sufficient funds to complete the project. However, Worlund assumes that the project should take no more than two to five years to finish.
“No current students will probably benefit from this building,” Worlund said.
The new facility will include perks such as an indoor jogging track, gym space, fitness machines, etc.
“The current AC is largely taken up by varsity athletics and intramurals. Students feel that the space is lacking more recreational space,” Worlund said.
Worlund mentioned that Student Union might help fund some of the AC expenses. However, no voting or appeals for this funding have yet occurred.
“If SU did contribute to this project, the University would probably have them purchase the equipment. It is common for SUs across the country to contribute to the funding of athletic centers,” Worlund said.
Demands for updated facilities from the student body and staff, not just the athletes, may provide an impetus for Student Union’s involvement.
“Our AC is worse than most high school gyms. We have cockroaches, our machines are out of date and the machines do not deserve to be on the college campus,” sophomore Spencer Tong said.
Brad Shively, the head varsity swim coach, thinks that the whole school will benefit from the new facility.
“Both the pool and weight room are hectic at the AC—there are usually about twenty-five people exercising in the pool at a time when the varsity team or other scheduled groups are not using it,” Shively said. “The student body as a whole is changing. Even though the current facility is old, young men and women at Wash. U. are working out more and more. It is great for not just the body but also the mind.”
Sophomore Will Miller also commented on the poor quality of the University’s swim facilities.
“The current AC does get the job done. However, compared to Wash. U.’s competitors and even the rest of Wash. U. itself, our AC is a huge letdown. Unlike many of our competitors, our pool is not Olympic-sized, which makes it nearly impossible to host significant swim meets such as the UAA Conference meet. The swimming locker rooms, for lack of a better word, are disgusting,” he said.
The pool is not the only place where Miller sees room for improvement in the facilities.
“While the weight room does have all the basic equipment, it is simply not big enough for a collegiate facility. It becomes a huge challenge to get a productive workout done when there is more than one team using the weight room at a time. As someone who spends at least 22 hours in the AC a week, I can confidently say that it’s one of the worst buildings on campus, and truthfully quite an embarrassment compared to the University of Chicago and Emory [University],” Miller said.