Students shy away from Newark gyms in favor of Little Bob
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 17:09
After months of construction and extensive renovations, the ribbon was cut and students could finally enter to see Carpenter Sports Building. The modern equipment, cardio machines and weights were not the sole additions to the facility, which also brought the return of some students who had frequented other gyms both on and off campus due to overcrowding at the Little Bob.
Junior Kevin Lapham, who has worked at the Little Bob for the past two years, said he has had friends who have sought off-campus gyms due to overcrowding, but the number of students attending the Little Bob has risen this year as opposed to the year prior.
“The gym we had previously for a student body of 17,000 just wasn’t enough,” Lapham said.
For students like senior Alex Farrell, a health behavior science major, the Little Bob’s previous setup was less than ideal. She said she disliked the old setup because she did not have enough room to work out.
For that reason, she said she would go to the Independence gym when she lived on North Campus. She said she went to the Little Bob three or four times her sophomore year, and she knew of students who traveled off campus for their fitness regimens due to the inconvenience and crowd at the old Little Bob.
“I never considered buying a gym membership off campus, but I know a ton of people who actually went through with it,” Farrell said.“So many people were so disappointed in the size and condition of the Little Bob that they were willing to spend their own money in order to have a good workout.”
Farrell said she does not think the other campus gyms were in need of renovations as much as the Little Bob, but she would not complain if the university renovated the others. Having students go to a variety of gyms on campus is necessary for the optimal convenience of all students, she said.
Senior Kamryn Mogul said she resorted to joining a gym off campus, Planet Fitness, rather than waiting in the long lines at the gym.
“Although it wasn’t my ideal place to work out, I was at least guaranteed a treadmill as opposed to the four that were supplied by the school at the old Little Bob,” Mogul said.
Now that the Little Bob has been renovated, Mogul said she has decided to cancel her membership at Planet Fitness. Mogul said she hopes the lines at the gym stay manageable.
To date, Lapham said the Little Bob has had a higher retention rate since the new Little Bob opened. He said feedback has been largely positive.
Mogul said she is convinced the university will purchase more machines for the Little Bob, as there is adequate space for the additions. She said she would enjoy seeing renovations take place at other gyms around campus.
“If every gym on campus was improved, I think everyone would benefit,” Mogul said.
Club manager of Snap Fitness Kiera Peterson said the gym has had a handful of students, but she thinks most students take advantage of the free recreation facilities provided by the university. The Snap Fitness location nearest to the university has around 830 members, she said.
Peterson said the opening of the Little Bob will only somewhat affect their business, as many college students have a limited income and lack transportation. College students are not their target market, and therefore, the Little Bob is not Snap Fitness’s biggest competitor. Snap Fitness will not make any changes to it’s business to compensate for the opening because the gym already has a distinct advantage with their 24/7 services, Peterson said.
“One upper-handed way we gain customers is by being open 24/7”, said Peterson. “That’s a convenience the university does not offer.”
Laurie Germain, manager at Anytime Fitness, said she thinks their gym’s business will remain unaffected. Approximately one fourth or less of their clients are university students, Germain said.
“I have heard the new gym is big but we have a good amount of loyal students due to our 24 hour access,” Germain said. “Our gym is never over packed, and we have updated equipment, so we aren’t very concerned.”